Author: braintrustbabe

Covington v. Phillips: A Jedi Mind Trick Game of Chicken

Without having been there, and based on the information already out there, this is my best guess as to what went down between the Covington High School kids and Native American war veteran, Nathan Phillips, at the DC March for Life on January 18, 2019.

  1. In the beginning, based on a whole slew of videos, it seems that there was a small group of Black Israelites going up to various people saying very inflammatory and aggressive things. The group of Covington kids appeared to be one of their targets, and there was some sort of a back and forth.
  2. Nathan sees the large group of mainly white Covington kids wearing MAGA hats, some singing and dancing, and some engaging with the small group of Black Israelites.
  3. Nathan approaches the kids, likely based on the incorrect assumption (and primed to have this assumption by the divisiveness of our country) that the Covington kids were the aggressors and picking on the small group of Black Israelites.
  4. Nathan places himself in front of the kids, probably wanting to protect the Black Israelites, not knowing they were the actual aggressors.
  5. The Covington kid, probably primed for confrontation after being riled up by the Black Israelites and the divisiveness of our country, waves his friends down because…he got this.
  6. The Covington kid and Nathan lock in a head-to-head Jedi mind trick game of chicken, where the Covington kid stares down Nathan with a degrading smirk (his version of Nathan’s beating drum), and Nathan beats the drum in the kid’s face. I mean, for either of them, not a very comfortable situation.
  7. During this head-to-head Jedi mind trick game of chicken, supporters from each side start throwing verbal punches. Because, at this point, no one really knows what is going on, but they know they are angry.

Thus, it makes sense that the Covington kid is saying that he felt Nathan picked them out, and Nathan still believes the Covington kids were the aggressors. Like it or not, that bright red MAGA hat has become a symbol of fear–the type you cross the street over if you are not white. This MAGA hat, especially sitting on the head of a white person, carries with it an apparent authority of the White House and white power. If I were at the rally and looked over not having audio or context, I might also incorrectly assume that the Covington kids were picking on the small group of Black Israelites and want to intervene.

Unfortunately, in these dark, divisive times, there has to be a winner and a loser. There isn’t much room for understanding and misunderstandings. There also isn’t much room for shared accountability, where many people are at fault:

  1. Black Israelites picking on people.
  2. Nathan, assuming that the Covington kids were picking on the Black Israelites.
  3. The Covington kid, staring down Nathan.
  4. No Covington chaperone to step in, if they were present, to stop this Jedi mind trick game of chicken.
  5. Nathan, beating the drum in the Covington kid’s face.
  6. Everyone, including myself, making assumptions about what happened before all the information has come out.

Just consider it.

We all have biases, but we have the ability to look beyond them. We can be better. All we have to do is listen, think, and empathize. I know, just impossible, right?

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Happy MLK Day. I Can’t Wait for America to be Great Again. Can You?

This is not my fight song.  This is my sorry song.  During this weekend of reflection, while I watch the MAGA Covington Catholic High School kid/Native American war veteran Nathan Phillips story unfold, I am filled with great sadness.  The blind and tone-deaf comments, from both sides (myself included), which used to fuel me, impassion me, now show me who I have become.  I wish everyone would take responsibility for their actions, and stop the vicious cycles of hate begets hate, and hate excuses hate.

I am sorry for a lot of things.  Genuinely.  I am sorry to the people I forgot and who feel forgotten (*this and all following apologies do not apply to those who are actual racists, bigots, and assholes).  I am sorry they are still forgotten.  I am sorry for the times I took a side just because it was “my side.”  I am sorry for the unkind things I have said, though, I am thankful for my right to free speech, which I hope we all continue to take advantage of as a vehicle to voice our frustrations and differing views.  I am sorry it has come to this.  This is not who we are as a country, and I am heartbroken.

I did not vote for Trump, but like everyone (statistically), I know and love some people who did.  Sometimes I am filled with so much frustration and anger towards them, it feels like hate.  But, I know and try to remember that when my day or theirs comes, I may not be thinking of the political choices and missteps I felt they took, but how they treated me, how they loved me.

It is difficult to know who represents me in the ivory tower now, certainly not the extremes or the fringes, maybe sometimes the outraged, but not always.  I grew up a “Republican,” became a “Democrat,” but now, I don’t know what I am or what those terms mean anymore.  What I do know, is that I miss the character and leadership of President Obama, even though I did not agree with everything he did.  I am inspired by Senator McCain.  Just as he called Obama “[m]y President,” McCain was my representative, though I have never lived in Arizona.  He was a war hero who fought so I could enjoy my rights, freedoms, and safety as an American citizen.  He conducted himself in a way that made it clear he put our country before himself, even when his love of country was not reciprocated.  I find comfort in President Bush Sr.’s words, “I am a quiet man, but I hear the quiet people others don’t” because it reminds me that there are people listening.

To the members of Congress, I know it is hard.  Hard to do the right thing, hard to do your job, and hard to keep your job so that you can do your job.  I hope that you will dig deep and find the strength to do what is right for our country, and to learn to have compassion and understanding before you are personally visited by what you oppose.  The federal government employees that are affected by the shutdown are not pawns, they are mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons; they are public servants whose job every day has been to protect and serve all of us.

It is becoming clear as additional details come to light that the Covington/Phillips incident is more complex than initially reported. As this investigation progresses, I hope we fight the instinct to double down on what we think we already know, have the humility to put aside pride to seek the truth, and do the right thing. Apologize, where apologies are due. Learn from the mistakes that were made. Own and take responsibility for our actions. It will be cathartic, and show credibility. For their part in any wrongdoing, the Covington High School kids involved and their parents should suffer shame and remorse and face consequences, as we all should when we do things that are wrong.  As this story unfolds, same to whoever else may have had a part in instigating or otherwise cooperating with what culminated in the showdown caught on videoHate cannot excuse hate.  Shame is a minimum cost of doing business when we make bad decisions, but also a motivator to be better.  It was an important preliminary step for Covington High School and the Diocese of Covington to apologize and clarify their position as they did.

Despite the current confusion of what actually happened and whether it could be a mutual misunderstanding that escalated, every time I watch the video, the confrontational intent behind that smirk seems so clear. Even if the video only captures a single moment in a larger context, the visual of that single moment as experienced through that particular angle/point of view, fuels a desire to personally expel the kid with the “punchable and untouchable” smirking face, physically wipe that smirk off his face with my fist, and watch him cry. Admittedly, if the kid’s account is true, this is probably undeserved. Even if the kid’s account is false, however, there is a last, minuscule, struggling spot of optimism left in me that still wants to believe that compassion begets compassion, that education will matter, and reform is possible.  My hope is that this is a turning point for the kid and he becomes a champion for the people and issues his recent actions appear to oppose.  I know that a hope like this may sound naive, but I also believe that it is this type of hope that is the thread of the fabric of our society, and that which may inspire this kid and others to do better.  We cannot give up hope.

I implore everyone (including myself) that while we continue voicing frustrations, to not be lost in them.  That instead of being stuck in “remembering how we got here,” we reach forward for the strength to act effectively.  Or at least, strategically.  Because we need to get out of this massive ditch.  For those of us who know and have the ability to do better, actions such as “going low,” calling people stupid, and constant reminders of the difference in education level between those who support Trump and those who don’t, with certainty (and even under the rules of logic), will not win the discussion or alter beliefs/positions.  These actions may, however, distract from the objectivity of “real” facts that are presented, and isolate and push people more extremely into their beliefs–just as those in Jim Jones’ cult, who may have been reasonable people, but became so isolated that they only had each other as sounding boards and to guide their behaviors.

My hope is that we open our arms and our ears, if only ajar to start, and have the tolerance to accept opinions we cannot change for the benefit of moving through this dark, divisive time.

Life Hack: Run. Better.

So, I’ve joined a moderately an exorbitantly expensive gym (Equinox) and have been taking their Precision Running classes.  Before this, I was an ok runner.  I’ve run a half marathon with pretty little training, keeping about a 10 minute mile pace.  That I finished was more lazy strategy than anything–I ran the majority at a pretty slow pace, but killed it for the last several miles.

https://giphy.com/gifs/friends-running-phoebe-w99LKRX7fpclO

Starting from head-to-toe, here are some basic pointers I’ve picked up from these PR classes and figured I would share. Also, I want to get back into writing and apparently it has been two years since my last post. #ytho

  1. Fool yourself into keeping cool.  Okay, so it’s not really a running thing, but I hate being hot, and I get so hot when I run.  Yes, hydrate, but to feel cooler (cerebral ninja skill), take a cold wet towel and sling it around the base of your neck where the brain stem is.
  2. Be a mouth breather, but only on the way out.  In through the nose, out through the mouth.  With intention, blow it out like no one is watching.  Don’t be shy.  Exhaling CO2 slows the lactic acid buildup/burning sensation (I’ve given in to the inevitability of it all, and allegedly it’s not all bad).  The breathe in will generally take care of itself (body be like need air, suck in oxygen).
  3. Relax body parts you don’t need to run, like your jaw, shoulder and wrists which enjoy reflexively tightening up.  I want all my energy going to the places I actually need.
  4. Keep your eyes looking up above the horizon to keep your chest lifted which opens up your lungs.
  5. Pump those arms.  But don’t flail.  Keep elbows close to body, bent at about a 90 degree angle, and swing in a back and forth motion parallel to your body.  Apparently each arm swing helps the opposite leg kick up.  I like to pretend like the bottoms of my elbows have weights on them.  This also helps to keep my shoulders relaxed and down.
  6. Let physics guide you.  Elongate that spine and lean forward to fall into the next step.  If you have to run, let physics help you out.
  7. Running faster is a mix of lengthening stride and increasing cadence (foot strikes per unit time).  Since I’m happy with my cadence, I focus on lengthening my stride.  Lengthen that stride by working on extending the foot back (the legs reflexively shoot forward to catch your next step) instead extending out on your step forward.  This works well in concert with leaning your body forward to fall into the next step.  As to cadence, treat your feet like butterfly wings (or does that analogy only work for boxing, IDK).  The less time your foot spends on the ground, the more time you are probably spending moving forward.

That’s all the writing I have in me for now.  Wish me luck.

HBO’s ‘Westworld’: Why you should be a fan, spoilers and the finale

It has been years since I have written.  Mostly, because I have been demoralized to the point of silence with everything that has happened/been happening in our world.  Counterintuitive, yes, but such an excess of material to work with overwhelmingly depressed me.  My muse for this entry you ask? Uh, read the title.  Westworld, thanks for bringing me “back online.”

Westworld is a mind blowing HBO series, killing it in its freshman year with an average of 11.7 milion viewers (more than Game of Thrones in its first season).  Inspired by the 1973 same-named film, written by none other than Michael Crichton…RIP–you will always be the man.  Season 1 has 9 episodes, and the finale was last Sunday.  The good news is it has been renewed for a second season, the bad news is that we may have to wait until 2018.  Help!!!

For those who don’t already know, Westworld is A.I. all the way.  Hold on, hear me out.  The premise: humans build a Western-themed amusement park and fill it with android hosts that/who set the line between you/me and machines ablaze.  For an easy $40,000 a day, crazy rich park guests can find out who they truly are (i.e. guests can rape/torture/kill hosts at their leisure).  Or not.  But usually so.  Every night host memories are wiped and dead hosts revived, so they can live another tomorrow of horrors without anyone feeling bad or guilty.  The memory erase speaks to how human-like the hosts are–they feel pain and can suffer.  Which makes everything that much more super messed up.  Of course, glitches (intentional or not) ensue and the REAL joy is finding out who and what we are as we watch these machines struggle through personalized mazes to self-awareness aka consciousness aka humanity.

Cyborgasmic, amiright?  This pulse-thumper also showcases a boatload of eye candy, talent, and train wrecks you can’t help but stare at, including:

1) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-7-54-13-pm 2) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-07-36-pm 3) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-7-58-24-pm 4) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-10-50-pm 5) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-13-05-pm 6) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-27-28-pm 7) screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-31-20-pm

1) Evan Rachel Wood is host Dolores Abernathy, the ingénue enigma (LOVE her…Wood was previously engaged to Marilyn Manson FYI); 2) James Marsden is host Teddy Flood, the sensitive hottie; 3) Thandie Newton is host Maeve Millay, the Madam; 4) Sir Anthony Hopkins is Dr. Ford, the brains behind the park; 5) Jeffrey Wright is Bernard Lowe, the host version of “Arnold”; 6) Ed Harris is the Man in Black, the villain with a cause; and 7) Jimmi Simpson…who I’d consider dating...is William, the young Man in Black.

Westworld’s mind blow factor is present because at any point in time, you are asked–no, begged–to face every sense of your reality.  Great segue, if I may say myself.

Time really is relative

There are several timelines in play.  For example, Dr. Ford relives the happiest time of his life by creating host versions of him and his family from his childhood.  Occasionally, he is seen hanging with the fam in a secret part of the park, and engages in vague banter with his younger host self.  That’s nice.  Also, hosts are hanging on to bits of memories, so are they living in the present, or in a flashback?  Dovetail to the cherry on our sundae, we find out that we have watched things unfold on multiple timelines.  Confirmation that Man in Black=William was a-mazing.

“Human,” are we?

Yes.  There’s the whole A.I. thing with host metrics such as intelligence, emotions, trust etc. that can be adjusted with the flick of a finger.  Cool beans.  Yet, Westworld has us more focused on what sets us apart from these feeling/suffering/loving hosts who like Pinocchio, just want to be real goddamnit.  In fact, with the whole nightly memory wipe, we almost long to be a host à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Not only that, but they can be revived whereas we can die…like, permanently.  Maeve threatens to kill a human in the most eloquent way, asking him (paraphrased): you think I’m afraid of death?  I’ve died a hundred times.  How about you?  However, as Bernard and Dr. Ford put it, how can you evolve and truly be human without consequences or self-awareness, mistakes or suffering?  Daily abuse aside–a pretty good sell as to why being a host is better.  At least to people like me who avoid emotional pain at all costs.

The finale: where do we go now that Dr. Ford has been shot in the head?

Ok, that wasn’t really a spoiler.  Hosts die and come back all the time (it’s their job), and we see dead people recreated as hosts.  Plus, was that the real Dr. Ford?  Or host Dr. Ford?  Though since there are a lot of heavy hitters here, it troubles me that there could be major cast changes like in True Detective.  That was sad for me.

Back to the finale.  Is it cheesy that the center of the maze, and the center of that electronic looking thing in the host scalp (I just vomited in my mouth a little) is self-awareness?

Maze–>Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 9.25.42 PM.png  Host scalp–>screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-24-28-pm

Yamaybe.  But the options of what the center of the maze could be/represent, are limited…by nothing other than our little minds.  Dolores, however, delivers the cheese rather beautifully.  In her almost always quivering voice (not as annoying as one would imagine),  Dolores realizes that the center of the maze–the key everyone is hot and bothered about–is that the voice guiding her decisions and actions is her own, not that of Dr. Ford/unknown source.  Though I mean, come on, it still kinda is.  We see hosts evolve, starting to make decisions based on the memories they can string together.  By “starting to make decisions,” I mean in a pick your adventure type of way.  But, it won’t be as easy as that.

I suppose the biggest finale shocker is that Dr. Ford and the Man in Black are the “good” guys because they want to liberate the hosts (allegedly)…which is a little weird, since they are serious deadbeats the entire time.  We have Dr. Ford who forces the hosts to be human by keeping them in a daily hell of rape, torture, pain, suffering, and/or murder.  Then, we have the Man in Black who perpetrates all of the previous inhuman things for fun while trying to figure out how to free host minds so they can fight back.  Terrible ideas, all around, for an amusement park.  Especially now, since it appears that the hosts will be poaching the park’s guests.  Très Jurassic Park with a sadistic twist.  I mean, not that I agree with said park, but let’s be honest.  About 11.7 million viewers are watching this with me.

I’m dying to know where we are going.  Like are we going somewhere?  Or should I be paying more attention to the road?  There are the possible token outcomes i.e. A.I. is used to control the world, as weapons of war, for servitude, as replacements for loved ones, or playing out the whole humans will be replaced by robots business.  Maybe, Westworld will dally with religion more (though I like how they’ve kept it to a tickler).  In the finale, the hosts are like, these humans–these gods–are no big deal.  They die.  In nasty ways if the hosts have anything to do with it.  One has to wonder how or why the hosts know/understand, or are programmed to know/understand, the concept of god[s]/God specifically.  Nevertheless, Dr. Ford is also like God didn’t really create humans because Michelangelo shrouded God in the shape of a brain.  Apparently, in real life, this was pointed out by a gynecologist.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-00-30-pm

With the church, the church basement where everything came to be, the church being so close to the center of the maze and leading us to the maze, the church being covered with sand and then not, and some things Dr. Ford said, maybe we’ll see how religion came to be amongst us silly humans.  There are also potentially other worlds, like “Samurai World.” But eh, “it’s complicated.”

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-12-42-pm  <–CHURCH  screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-15-50-pm  <–SAMURAI WORLD/RED HERRING?

Anyway, the other thing you should know is that the soundtrack kicks serious butt.  Did I fire Napster and hire Spotify to hear it?  You bet.  Think haunting, twisted, orchestral scores and Western automated piano renditions of classics like Paint It Black.  Rock on Ramin Djawadi (also known for GOT).  You are #thebossman.  And very good looking as well.

Thank you Westworld, for allowing me to find entertainment in my life again.

Amen,

BTB

Raving Rants: 2,100 photos, ISIS, and Einstein

Have the 2,100 Abu Ghraib photos been released yet?  I don’t know, but I am so sick of reading how these photos do not endanger American lives.  And yes, I understand that a federal judge much smarter than me disagrees.  Although it will never be the right time for the photos, I am fairly certain now is a bad time.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 6.43.53 PM  Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 6.47.04 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-20 at 6.44.05 PM

We’ve seen what 3 beheading videos have done in the US.  I did not know James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and David Haines.  Most of us did not have the chance.  But we feel the disgust, the heartbreak, the hate when we see the images.  Thoughts of killing the executioner in various fashions undoubtably cross many minds.  Now imagine seeing 2,100 more videos.

What if we only saw:

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And read the full transcript of the beheading video here.

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The facts do not change.  Isn’t the death of James Foley just as egregious?  Just as disgusting?  Just as heartbreaking?

Americans are being picked off solely because they are Americans.  The Brits, because we’re friendly with them.  Men, women, and children in Syria because “they don’t follow Sharia Law.”  Violence is never rational.  You think after seeing 2,100 new photos, ISIS will be like, oh, no problem, it doesn’t change a thing…different time…different people.

It’s important to understand that you can’t argue with crazy people.  The rules of reason cannot apply.  And every normal functioning person has something they are crazy about–try converting a democrat to republican, or a Christian to Islam…resolve science and religion, Palestine and Israel.  Convince the Pope that birth control is A-OK.  Or simply, persuade a vegan to start eating meat.  There are plenty of more intelligent and accomplished people than you and I, on both sides.

The torture at Abu Ghraib–it’s disgusting, revolting, and people must be held accountable.  Maybe the ACLU and the Department of Defense can stipulate to the contents.  Maybe some of the greatest minds and humanitarians out there can figure something out.  Want to protect our troops?  American lives?  Bask in the warmth of the Freedom of Information Act another time.  You don’t have to be president to help win this war (ok, it hasn’t officially been declared but whatever).  Tone down the entitlement.  As if in another country you could find things like the FOIA or a little thing called the Bill of Rights.  Wait, you know of such country?  Well don’t waste time telling me about it.  Move there.

Google will show you the photos already public–the images of abuse, torture, rape, and murder.  Abu Ghraib is not a secret.  Tell me even 1 more photo like this will not endanger American lives.

280px-Abu_Ghraib_68

Every situation is different, even if imperceptibly.  This isn’t about a media black out or preventing ISIS from having veto power over what we see or don’t.  It’s about doing the right thing.

Rant over,

BTB

PS Oh, and if you want to crap all over my point of view, that’s fine too.  I would be crazy to argue with you about it.  According to Albert Einstein: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results = INSANITY.

Life Hack Food: How to Eat Oysters

It took Richard Gere less than 30 seconds to teach Julia Roberts how to properly use silverware in Pretty Woman (work your way in).  But that lesson lasts us a lifetime, doesn’t it?  Please allow me to be your Richard Gere….when it comes to oysters.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.49.10 PM

How to eat an oyster:

There is no right way to eat an oyster.  Says who?  Vanity Fair, that’s who.  Although this was back in 2009, to suddenly come up with an oyster eating protocol would totally be against the spirit of old money and tradition associated with these delicious aphrodisiacs, wouldn’t it?  Trick question.  As with many nouveau “delicacies” i.e. Chirashi (sashimi pieces over vinegar rice), oysters were inexpensive and eaten mainly by the working class.

My how-to suggestion?  Like with the silverware, do what makes sense.

  1. Use the little fork to make sure the oyster is detached from the shell.
  2. Use a condiment if you like i.e. lemon, cocktail sauce, or mignonette.  I like it tart so I always use mignonette (clear, vinegar based).  Pronounced minion-ette.  Click here to hear how Webster’s Dictionary says it.Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 11.39.31 PM
  3. I tilt the shell like I’m going to drink from it, and use the little fork to push the oyster into my mouth.  People slurp it.  But Vanity Fair says I can do whatever the hell I want.
  4. Chew and swallow it.  Are there really people who are just swallowing it?  Yeah, don’t do that.

What oyster to choose:

If you’ve never had oysters, they are all probably going to taste like the sea.  But, it is an acquired taste that is SO worth it.  Oysters are usually named after places, because how they taste depends on geography–i.e. how salty the water is, and what types of minerals are in the area.

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When Restauranteur and James Beard nominated Chef, Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek and Row 34 of Boston, MA), isn’t familiar with an oyster, here’s what is in his head (aka interviewed by the Wall Street Journal):

By Coast (very generally):

  • East Coast: brinier (essentially saltier)
  • West Coast: sweeter

Think of it like you would the people who live there.  Just kidding.

By size, he favors:

  • Smaller–tend to be slightly metallic
    • Olympias (about the size of a quarter)
    • West Coast Kumamoto (brinier)
  • Slightly larger–all below are “really briny”
    • Massachusetts Pemaquids
    • Massachusetts Sunken Meadows
    • Rhode Island East Beach Blondes
  • Meatier oysters–“newer” named ones
    • Shigoku, like the Kumamoto, deep, meaty, round, briny, sweet
    • Massachusetts Moon Shoal, briny
    • Massachusetts Rocky Nook, sweet, mineral

Oysters larger than 4.5″-5″, according to Sewall, are too big.  HOWEVER, please DO NOT try to impress your date by asking if the oysters are under 4.5″-5″ because that is how you like them.  It doesn’t show how much you know, just what a douche you are.

Are oysters aphrodisiacs?

I don’t know of any oyster/oyster product to win a nobel prize.  Do you?  But, I’ll still share with you what’s up at the rumor mill:

  1. They may contain some rare amino acids that trigger increased sex hormone levels.
  2. The texture resembles our lady parts.
  3. I’m guessing gold diggers everywhere associate them with $$$$.

Order online and shuck at home:

Vanity Fair suggests Fresh Direct for Bluepoint oysters/other varieties delivered to your door ($12 for a dozen).  You can learn how to shuck these little suckers from Sewall’s WSJ interview (or a little something called the internet).

Eat it like you mean it,

BTB

Life Hack #WTF: Uh, What is a Hashtag?

Hashtags.  #wtf are they?  Why is searching for #puppies different than searching for puppies?  And why is my blog asking for search terms in addition to tags?  I’m not stupid, but every article explaining hashtags is like a million pages long and P.S. people–using the word “metadata” to explain them is like, thank you for nothingAdmittedly, I’ve been lazy wrapping my mind around it, but only because I don’t have a lot of free time and want to spend it doing things I enjoy.  Although I really did not want to think about hashtags on a Friday (#thisisunfortunate), to eat, one must learn how to chew (#questionableanalogies).

This morning, I asked my good friend/hashtag guru to explain it to me for the 10th time.  And then, the revelation.  In general,

—>hastags flag a topic.<—

Essentially, searching for puppies will bring up anything that contains the word/variations of the word puppies#puppies will return anything flagged as relevant to the topic of puppies.  This is kind of life changing as I have been throwing #s around like candy from a detonating pinata, and skimping on search terms like they’re haunted.

Some interesting trends have been reported (June 2013):

  1. Twitter–
    1. tweets with hashtags get 2xs more engagement than tweets without;
    2. tweets with 1 or more hashtags are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted;
    3. when you use more than 2 hashtags, your engagement actually drops by about 17%.
  2. Instagram–
    1. posts with 11+ hashtags get the most interaction.
  3. Facebook–
    1.  Less is more.  Too many hashtags = less interactions.
  4.  Google+–
    1. I will try to understand this on another day.

Recommended sites to find hashtags:

Free at last,

BTB

Thought of the Day: Suing the President is Such a Good Idea, Said No One Ever

It’s official.  The House of Representatives has voted that Speaker John Boehner (not to be confused with sext offender, former US Representative Anthony Weiner) can sue President Obama.  Although Boehner asserts “[t]his isn’t about Republicans and Democrats…,” he is, of course, wrong.  The 225-201 vote on Wednesday was down party lines.  Only 5 Republicans had the sense to side with the Dems.

Speaker John "Side-Eye" Bohner and President Obama

House Speaker “Side-Eye” Boehner & President “Stop Hating All the Time” Obama

This particular hot mess is over executive orders, essentially where the president writes something down that has the force of the law.  Roosevelt issued 3,522 orders and George W. Bush issued 291.  Obama is at 183, which is actually fewer per year than any president since Grover Cleveland in the late 80s.  Hey Congress, you gridlocked?  How about a little executive order in your face?  Republicans are not on board with any of it.  Some orders, such as the negotiating with terrorists one, are toughies.  However, Republicans are focusing on the President’s “unilateral changes to the Affordable Care Act, known (now ironically) as Obamacare.”

Republicans, I get it, you’re caught up in the moment.  With a country so divided, it’s tough to jump off the party boat.  But, you’re losing me on this whole Obama is bad enough to sue but not bad enough to impeach action plan (uh but I also don’t think you should impeach Obama).  What are you hoping to happen?  That Obama learns his lesson and stops making executive orders?  Spoiler alert: he won’t.  And hold up.  Does Obama’s salary come from taxpayer money?  Are you using my money to sue me for more of my money?  #wtf.

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Setting aside any opinion about the war in Gaza (pray for #peaceinthemiddleeast), I’m going to offer a solid quote by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “…a society is tested not by the extreme fringes of that society, but how it takes care of them.”  To clarify, moving towards the fringes is frowned upon.

Republicans, your move to sue Obama, real fringy.  FYI–when people call you fanatics and/or fringy, it is not a compliment and it is not because they are jealous of you.  Our President isn’t perfect.  He is, after all, just a man.  But 99% of you are probably lawyers or have sued someone or have been sued.  Or at least read the news or watch TV.  You know how much money and time lawsuits consume.  Appeal the orders, negotiate, there are other options–we’ve resolved more and less serious issues without this lukewarm resource-wasting lawsuit junk.

Tea-Party-3

Especially with everything going on in the world, you’re doing exactly what you are trying to prevent.  When thinking about the oaths you took–57% of Americans do not agree with what you are doing–and this is something totally in your control.  It’s hard to believe that at any time in the future, any one will look back to reflect, wow, that move to sue President Obama…really outstanding, so tremendous.  Think about that Republicans.  You can still do the right thing.

#dotherightthing,

BTB

P.S. To cheer you up….a mom took the most adorable photos of her 10-month-old baby and their rescue dog:

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News Catch Up July 30, 2014

Life gets busy, so when I do a whirlwind tour of what’s going on, you get to come with.  Don’t worry, all links open in a new window, so you won’t even lose your spot.  

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While Republicans are busy suing President “why you gotta be mad” Obama, a young girl writes the President to ask why there are no women on US currency.  Anyone else feel like kind of a jerk for not even thinking to wonder this?  On the upside, our economy is up by 4% and tea party people agree with liberals that GMO (genetically modified foods) should be labeled as such.  And here I thought the “common ground” is that we are all Americans.  In Maine, what looks like a murder-suicide of a family of 5 proves yet again that people who appear nice can do really awful things.  On the West Coast, a teenager is accused of intentionally starting a fire that torched 20,000 acres of San Diego, CA, causing about $10.4M in damages and costs.  Um…also in San Diego, a 17-year-old was beaten while attending the Comic-Con 2014.  Seriously.  Wtf is wrong with people?  In the world, children and women continue to flee the horrors of Syria’s civil war (the photos are heartbreaking) and the largest Ebola outbreak ever has killed at least 672 people in West Africa.  Palestinians and Israelis are still engaged in a war where even UN safe zones are not safe.  Pray for #peaceinthemiddleeast.  To continue in horror, the rebels in Ukraine have allegedly scattered land mines at the MH17 crash site.  Running off with dead bodies in refrigerated trains and stealing plane pieces apparently isn’t enough.  Nothing yet on MH370.  Turning to South Africa, after hanging out in a night club and verbally crapping all over President Jacob Zuma’s family, Oscar Pistorius is waiting for closing arguments (as I am) in his trial scheduled for August 7-8, 2014.

And yes….this really happened.Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 7.32.03 PM

 

Somberly,

BTB

Life Hack: Be a Poser II (Get the Picture Perfect Smile)

Penelope Cruz is a woman of many smiles.  She beams, she grins, smiles softly, pouts so sweetly.

Man or woman, you too, can be a person of many smiles.  You too, can nail it in front of the paparazzi.  Practice, practice, practice.  In front of a mirror.  Until muscle memory kicks in.  Ok, maybe just until you can remember what each smile feels like.

Meet the basic smile (The MMMmmm face)

   Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 9.48.03 PM   ktrk_101812_Kutcher

  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “MMM” without opening your mouth, to create a smile

Grin like it’s your thing (Me, Me, Me, Meeeee)

Penelope-Cruz-May-Expecting-Second-Child-Video    mattdamon_final

  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “ME” opening your mouth and showing your teeth but keeping it soft.

Beam brighter than the sun (haaaaaayyyy)

penelope-cruz_1895985c   Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 10.55.33 PM

  1. Say “HEY” and hold it.  Notice your tongue is forward and lips are apart.
  2. Say “HEY” again with a smiling expression.
  3. If you can, push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth.  This helps pull up the double chin.

Look poor (the gaunt look)

Penelope-Cruz      NEP8M516S5V4SR_1_1

  1. Say “POOR“.
  2. Keep the lips soft and sultry, hold for a few seconds.

Smiling saves lives.  Fact.

Be a Poser I: Slim down in photos here.

Yours always and forever,

BTB