Poetry Wednesday 64

For all the times we ask “Who Cares”

“Who Cares”

I’m not sick, but to others it might seem that lack of action means I’m not well

Sometimes you want to accuse me of being lazy and wonder why

Complaining to me that the boredom and inaction makes you want to cry

You will eventually get used to all the lies I tell

Lack of movement and motivation, my body begins to swell

Nothing worth doing, because even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry

What happens if I care again? Failure seems the only option, or at least the only one nigh

Never going to be accused of doing things the best, never going to excel

 

Let’s throw time out the window and let it be wasted away

Right now and today I am bored by what I am tasked with, the everyday chores

Shut up inside, hiding from the world and its problems, I don’t care, I’m staying indoors

Not even bothering to bother anyone else, like sleeping dogs let my plans downward lay

Appreciate the effort you make with your looks, you’ve spent time groomin’

Maybe for you, since you’re the right one I will pick myself up and try to again be human

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #65

Legislation rockets to the President’s desk for signature, and with his signature the results are astronomical

T-minus three seconds to liftoff…We have a new week beginning again and #HistoryMonday is here with it. Today’s event has impacts on several previous entries for #HistoryMonday. Today’s event is surprising as well because it’s thanks to Congressional approval, which let’s face it doesn’t usually produce important results.

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On this day in 1958, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act—legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA was created as a civilian agency tasked with promoting and aiding American space activities. Since its inception, NASA has sponsored space expeditions and launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

Previous efforts in American space exploration were originally handled by a military space effort, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). From 1946, NACA conducted experiments with rocket planes and other missiles with assistance from Wernher von Braun and other German rocket scientists. After the Soviet space program’s launch of the world’s first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the United States knew their efforts must be increased. Sputink’s launch concerned The U.S. Congress, who feared threats of national security and technological leadership from the Soviets. Pres. Eisenhower urged the Congress to act in American interests in April of 1958. This led Congress to pass the National Aeronautics and Space Act signed on this day sixty years ago.

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Obviously, I’ve covered many of NASA’s efforts on here previously. With NASA’s efforts after their creation on this day, they have seen Lunar landings, near earth orbits, and solar system exploration. Hopes of a return trip to the moon and Mars have been touted even recently by Pres. Trump. Suggestions of a military force that would compare to NACA with the Space Force have also been suggested recently.

We saw last week that NASA’s crowning achievement with the Apollo 11 mission celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary. This mission was the first crew of humans to land on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

NASA also administers space camps for amateur astronomy-minded individuals as well as other educational efforts on their website and social media. Images from NASA-affiliated telescopes and satellites are widely viewed from even the most novice astronomy fan to the advanced astronomer. I count myself in the novice group and am always impressed by the images included on NASA’s Instagram page.

Do you remember when NASA was created?

 

 

 

 

 

Current Event Friday #69

Getting free food delivered isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be

Make healthy choices with your food intake. Sounds reasonable right? Well if you frame an encouragement for good eating practices this way you might not face criticism, but if you send diet bars to people who wear a certain size of your clothing you can expect criticism. You can also expect you’re the topic of today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

Clothing retailer Forever 21 made headlines this week for including Atkins® Diet bars in shipments to plus-size customers as part of their orders. Many customers took to social media and shared photos of the low-carb product along with their clothing purchases.

Forever 21 officials told media outlets that the Atkins bar samples were included as part of a third-party promotion with the company. These promotional items were included in orders “across all sizes and categories,” and have “since been removed” from orders.

Much of this is damage control by the company as expected. Many customers are skeptical and don’t care about the lackluster explanation and non-apology, explaining that including the diet items is essentially ‘fat shaming’ towards plus-size customers.

If Forever 21 had some third-party promotion with Atkins® diet products, a simple statement about the current promotion before everyone ordered would have sufficed. It’s not unusual for different companies to include freebies as a temporary promotion with their products, but making sure people are aware of those promotions is best. Also not including diet products with clothing as a freebie promotion is advisable. If someone is using FabFitFun® box or any other similar monthly subscription service, there’d likely be no issue. The receiver would expect some sort of diet foods and products.

I don’t really have an opinion on either company. I’m not a millennial girl so I don’t shop Forever 21, and I’ve never been a fan of Atkins® products but I don’t dislike them either. I also don’t freak out over freebies that I didn’t request or choose. If I ordered the clothing from Forever 21 and found the Atkins® bar, I’d probably give them to someone else in my family who would eat them. I usually do this with any food I have that I don’t particularly want or request. Someone will eat it and it won’t go to waste.

Should Forever 21 found a better way to include freebies with their clothing shipments?

Poetry Wednesday 63

A not so sweet poem about “Red Hots”

“Red Hots”

When all my plans are going down in flames, I will soon be fired up and hackles raised

Red-hot temper coursing through my body so virulent, it’ll be violent soon

Fed up, my attitude reached well past my limit—may as well call it the moon

Always full of moments of doubt and amazement at others, my eyes have become crazed

Ready to fight for decades, engaging in a fruitless war with enemies unfazed

Burnt up, hardly able to focus or think, wouldn’t be surprised if I began to swoon

Cooler heads are hoping to prevail upon me, maybe that I’ll change my tune

Know I need some restraint or I’ll lay everyone to waste, don’t be so amazed

 

Overwhelmed by passion in my soul, and I see fire within it and in its windows I see rain

My mind is turbulent and seething deep within, while visibly gritting my teeth

Revved up like a car, you don’t want my hood to pop and show you what’s underneath

The man inside spurs me on, knowing my scars and the unmanaged pain

You ask so often, ”Baby is everything alright?” I wonder, do you ever feel like I do

Can’t be a fighter and a lover, Love me harder that my love be ignited stronger and true

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #64

An important town in Illinois goes underwater

Water, water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Today’s #HistoryMonday deals with a somewhat more recent event in history, but reminders of it occur even today and informed people adjust accordingly.

The city of Kaskaskia, Illinois during the Great Flood of 1993

On this day in 1993, levees in the town of Kaskaskia, Illinois fell apart and the residents of the small but historically important town were evacuated. These residents were likely unsurprised by the deluge and followed the orders of the Army Corp of Engineers who helped to evacuate the town.

The city of Kaskaskia has historical significance in the Mississippi River basin and in Illinois specifically. Kaskaskia was platted as the first territorial capital of Illinois and maintained significance for years before official statehood.

As the state of Illinois grew and Springfield became the capital, residents left Kaskaskia. By the late 19th Century, the waters of the Upper Mississippi River shifted during the spring rains. As the river continued to shift its path, the city was eventually formed into an island separate from the state of Illinois and eventually became grafted onto Missouri territory as alluvial deposits changed the boundaries of the Mississippi River through and around the city.

Eventually, the town was reduced to less than a hundred people. As the Great Flood of 1993 inundated the city and others with water, more people left leaving it to only a few households. Water heights during the Great Flood of 1993 reached nine feet in the town.

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As mentioned earlier, the levees breaking in Kaskaskia reduced the population to only 9 people. This population is the smallest population for any incorporated community in Illinois. Of course, its place in Illinois history is what keeps anyone living there and encourages visitors rather than becoming a Census Designated Place (CDP) or other unincorporated territory in the state.

In Kaskaskia, the levees are part of The Mississippi levee system. This system is one of the largest in the world, comprising over 3,500 miles stretching from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to the Mississippi Delta. The system was begun by French settlers in Louisiana in the 18th Century near New Orleans. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, along with the Mississippi River Commission, added to the original French system in 1882 near Cairo, Illinois to the mouth of the Mississippi delta in Louisiana.

We’ve seen other levee failures and accomplishments in years following. The most notable example of this is in New Orleans, Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. Meteorologists and other experts admit that the force of Katrina was not as substantial as other damaging storms in recent memory. The duration of the rains from Katrina outlasts many of those storms. So, it’s not the wind that damaged property and land, but floods from rainwater. This rain was too massive for levees built in the town and estuary canal projects connecting the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Living in Kentuckiana most of my life, and near to the Ohio River we observe flooding often during rainy seasons in the Spring. I’ve written about that in an earlier post when I began the blog, and we’ve seen record highs in floodwaters this year that outdid the water levels I wrote about in the earlier post. While living near rivers provided access to receive or transport goods and people, the threat of flood is always there. So, city planners use more natural means like levees and dikes or artificial means like floodwalls and dams. These flood contingencies hopefully prevent damage to property and loss of life.

Do you remember the Great Flood of 1993 and did it affect you or loved ones?

Current Event Friday #68

Tragedy in the gaming community

Another week is ending and that means #CurrentEventFriday on the blog. With that in mind, we’re looking at a tragic end to a young girl at the hands of a wholly misguided young man. So buckle up, because today’s topic is not for the faint of heart.

Bianca Devins was a 17-year-old girl from Upstate New York who had achieved a modest amount of fame on Instagram, Reddit, and gaming sites for her abilities with video gaming. Along with this popularity, Devins attracted male fans who were also attracted to Devins’s looks. One such fan believed that his relationship with Devins was more than casual fandom through social media and assigned romantic thoughts to himself and Devins.

Unfortunately for Devins, who met up with this 21-year-old male fan things took a shocking and violent turn. As the pair attended a concert last weekend, an argument ensured about whether the two were an item. Devins did not believe that she was in a romantic relationship with the fan, and that’s when he killed her. As if that was not horrible enough, the fan posted videos and photos on his Instagram and the gaming site Discord tagging Devins’s profile in the media. These graphic images included Devins’s corpse that the fanboy killer had tried to decapitate. As Devins’s body was found Sunday morning in a local park, the fanboy was arrested for her murder.

Admittedly, this is a hard entry to write for the sheer gruesome act being discussed, but also because I’m choosing to omit the fanboy killer’s name because he doesn’t deserve the fame or satisfaction of it being repeated. Several news outlets have not followed that guideline and the killer is getting his infamy and attention he wanted.

The whole episode calls into question what role social media plays with tragedies like this one. Many have objected that Instagram allowed the images posted by the killer to remain on the site before being taken down or obscured and that they should’ve been rejected outright. Other depraved individuals obtained screenshots from Discord and Instagram before the images were removed and began to solicit attention by offering to release them to other depraved individuals.

On a more human level with social media, a discussion is being fostered by female memeebrs of the gaming community and influencers on social media cites about Involuntary Celibates or Incels. The killer has been accused of being part of the incel community. Typically incels are insecure about their appearance and the prospect of dating desirable women. Incels attack women for friendzoning them and dating the more stereotypical attractive men, or ‘Chad’ as these incels term them.

I will freely admit that I probably drift dangerously close to the incel mentality and dislike being friendzoned, but usually this leads to my overthinking and depression rather than violent and hateful speech and actions. More social media savvy women have pointed out that the incel outrage is largely overwrought. Being nice to a woman does not necessarily translate to her choosing to date the man or engage in sex with him. Basically, being kind and decent shouldn’t be a prerequisite for more from a woman, it should be a standard for being a human being with no expectations of anything in return except maybe a smile or a thank you. Realizing all this, it’s best for guys to some degree be more transparent with their feelings with women early on if there’s an interest in the woman for more than friendship, so that clear boundaries are known before anyone gets hurt.

Added to this, guys should pay attention to women’s clear intentions when asked about their boundaries they are setting. If a woman indicates that she wants to remain friends respect that request. Devins and her killer had exchanged text messages that indicated that Devins was not interested in her killer and he clearly ignored the indications and acted according to his own thoughts regardless of the reality that was being communicated.

I get it, I have either gotten the direct rejection when I ask a girl if she’s interested, I’ve gotten the direct rejection of the block without the direct asking, and the indirect ignoring without my direct asking. What’s common in all of those rejecetions, I accepted the response and moved on. I didn’t try to persist, well I didn’t try to persist as much and moved on. I didn’t try to find the girl, arrange an in person meeting, attack, and then kill her. Of course that probably has to do with that I’m for all intents and purposes ‘normal’ or at least what passes for normal these days.

It’s also worth mentioning, unless you know someone in real life and not just on social media don’t meet up with them alone. Always bring along friends if you’re determined that you want to meet in person. If there’s not bad vibes when you meet up, then you can go from there. People are not 100% on the Internet who they are in real life. I’m much more snarky on social media than in real life. Social media, especially Twitter and Instagram are theatre and the people on those sites are actors whether they have the SAG card or not.

If you don’t believe my last point, here’s Brad Paisley to sing that point:

Is incel culture to blame or was the killer just a terrible person regardless?

Poetry Wednesday 62

Are “The Jones” worth keeping up with? This poem looks at that dynamic

“The Jones”

And along come Mr. Jones, fast-moving, fast-talking Jones; we tell each other fairy tales

We’ve all got this going on we know it’s wrong, it grabs me and it’s got me tied up, can’t let it go

Moving from what is required to everything I want—surplus all to current circumstances owe

Tired of working harder than everyone else, want an easier path, but the devil’s in the details

Wanting someone else’s life, it only wreck yours, and their life will be the one that prevails

Dreams that last so long, achievements I’m always hoping for, and the answer is always “No”

Buying and having everything delivered to my front step, binding myself to this foe

Wonder what is all this I’m fighting for, the better houses I’m striving for might as well be jails

 

Tomorrow I’ll be thinking to myself where’d it all go wrong—the list goes on, seemingly growin’

Other people’s lives on TV, every minute tells you those lives are better than yours and you agree

Why can’t I just take solace in the promise of the most profitable group and let it be?

Afraid it’ll take Its toll and know all this stuff won’t save my soul, cause you can’t save your own

Waiting for the day when my treasures are better than those here, and streets are paved in gold

Listening to your contentment, telling me everything is wonderful here and now, wish I was so bold

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #63

How 140 became part of today’s #HistoryMonday and a trending topic.

It’s time for another #HistoryMonday again. Using a hashtag in this introductory sentence is fitting given the event being discussed today.

On this day in 2006, the San Francisco-based podcasting company Odeo officially releases Twttr—later changed to Twitter—its short messaging service (SMS) for groups, to the public.

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Originally a side project of Odeo, was created to make up for losses after Apple’s in-house podcast service threatened the podcast company. The founder of Odeo, Evan Williams tasked employees to design new applications or programs to replace the expected lost revenue. Jack Dorsey, part of this group came up with the concept of a service allowing users to share personal status updates via SMS to groups of people. By March of 2006, Odeo and the brainstorming group had created and named their new app—Twttr, in reference to the short quick sounds of birds and each status update being a tweet. The first ever tweet was sent by Dorsey “just setting up my twttr” on March 21. Eventually by July 15, 2006 the application was launched to the public.

Within six months after the launch, Twttr had become Twitter. As the website grew, its founders imposed a 140-character limit for messages, based on the maximum length of characters used in text messages at the time. Eventually, this was later expanded to 280 characters. Just a year after it’s public release, a Twitter employee introduces the hashtag (#) as a way to track trends on the burgeoning social network.

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Twitter would eventually grow to become one of the world’s top social networks, competing with the leader in the field—Facebook. Twitter’s first taste of success was first seen at the South By Southwest Conference in 2007 when users were encouraged to demonstrate the popularity and reach of the platform. Although Twitter users are substantially are substantially less than the 2 billion Facebook, it is still a source of breaking news and information, and especially appeals to younger users.

Somewhat, in contrast to the youth appeal is the company’s popularity with President Donald Trump who is outspoken on Twitter throughout his presidential campaign of and often tweets policy decisions, important announcements, and arguments during his administration (even yesterday Pres. Trump decided to take to Twitter and comment on the Democratic House in-fighting).

As politicians and political commentators have sought to use Twitter along with other social media companies, Twitter and Dorsey, now its CEO, the website faces pressure whether it is correctly and fairly policing content on its platform.

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Current Event Friday #67

A guy walks into a bagel shop with a short fuse and goes viral

♫ Short people got no reason to live ♪

Randy Newman’s lyrics are not the most empowering or hope-filled but apparently a gentleman in a bagel shop in New York was feeling some kind of way about perceived attitudes about short guys this week. His viral meltdown is today’s #CurrentEventFriday topic.

Full disclosure for anyone reading this, if you’ve not met me in real life I am 5’6 ½”. As a man under 5’10” including fractions of an inch are important so you aren’t completely slighted. I will readily admit that my height limitations are part of my insecurities.

 

 

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An angry man reacting to society’s rejection of short men

Anyways, back to the actual Current Event since that’s what this post is supposed to cover. A Twitter user named Olivia Bradley posted a thread of this short man reacting to a female employ smirking. Believing the employee was smirking about his height the man went on a profanity-laced rant about being rejected by women on online dating sites as well as real life encounters. As the man continued to rant, other patrons tried to calm him down or challenge his claims. As the situation escalated, the man challenged another patron to a physical altercation before being shoved by that patron. Eventually the bagel shop called local police who took statements, but no arrests were made. Olivia Bradley included a follow-up tweet after the man was shoved where he continued his rant before leaving the establishment, likely with police encouragement. As many viewed this on Social Media, others have already created memes including the ranting man, most notably Barstool Sports.

Obviously, I’m not going to go on a rant like the man in the video because it’s just not healthy. But as my second paragraph, I won’t try to act like I don’t understand any of the man’s concerns. There are plenty of memes about girls looking down on short guys (pun intended). The usual response meme is something about a double standard that guys can’t list a preference for a woman to be a certain weight. We also can’t pretend that some women give credence to the short guy memes and won’t consider men who aren’t a certain height. It’s their prerogative to be like a carnival ride and have a height restriction, but it doesn’t feel good nonetheless.

For me, I have had friends suggest that if I want to date someone, I should find a girl substantially shorter than me, but I think that just calls attention to how short I am. That’s not to say that sometimes when I see a girl on Instagram or other social media that’s 5’2” to 5’3” along with the other classically attractive features that her height isn’t a bonus on my attractiveness scale. Sorry ladies, guys are visual creatures and we can’t not make observations.

I also know that some women are perfectly fine dating and or marrying shorter men. Short men are apparently Nicole Kidman’s type, as she was married to Tom Cruise and now Keith Urban who are both shorter than her. Kevin Hart, Seth Green, and Joe Jonas have found success with partners taller than themselves. Of course, both partners being celebrities with lots of money doesn’t hurt the chances.

Height shouldn’t be a deciding factor in dating, employment, or most other areas of life. It should only be a deciding factor in riding roller coasters and thrill rides and maybe athletics. But, it’s still an instinctual factor. Men like to be taller than their female partners because it’s a biological expectation. Women are conditioned to want to feel feminine, and being shorter than their male partner is part of feeling feminine. Women expect men to be taller to be protectors and providers for them, and that historically biological trait hasn’t quite been set aside. The other side of the coin is true for men, we like being masculine and being the protector and provider, so we like to be taller than our female partners. Some of the attitudes are changing, taller women are often more competitive and assertive, and men who like women to be assertive to make up for a passive nature would be well served to date a taller woman. Taller women should also consider the smaller man because we will often be more attentive to their needs, be more compassionate and sensitive to her, unlike boorish folks who made the woman feel insecure about her height.

Rant over, please direct all complaints to Twitter and subtweet this, or @ me next time.

Are shorter men unfairly treated by women and society in general?

A Great Personality

Personally, I don’t know my type.

As an INFJ, blogging comes naturally to me. If you believe that, you’re an INFJ, ESTP, or ESFJ. If you don’t believe that you’re either an ENFP, INTP, or an INTJ. Of course, some of you may wonder what jargon and acronyms I’m talking about. Alternatively, I’m a skeptic and making it up or you’re highly suggestible or as skeptical as I am.

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These 4-Letter acronyms are part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. The MBTI was developed by a mother and daughter Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Katharine Briggs was an educator and her daughter Isabel was a mystery writer. The pair studied psychologist Carl Jung’s theory of the 4 psychological functions—sensing, intuitions, feeling, and thinking. The women extrapolated this theory into their personality test. They added an emphasis on being extraverted or introverted plus judging or perceiving.

Extraversion/Introversion-Extraverted types learn and function best when interacting with people and the physical world. Introverted types prefer quiet reflection and function best internally.

Sensing/Intuition-Sensing types are good at understanding concrete and tangible concepts. Intuitive types better understand abstract concepts and observe patterns.

Thinking/Feeling-Thinkers observe logical principles and objective truths, this helps them to use deductive reasoning. Feelers try to predict causes and assign motives to others’ actions.

Judging/Perceiving– Judging types prefer a structured manner or approach the world. Perceiving types are more open and do not require as much structure.

There’s much more written about the MBTI, and I’ve included my Cliff’s Notes version of the personality test. You can search for MBTI and take the test on several sites and find out which one of the 16 types you are. I’ve taken the MBTI several times and been identified as a different type almost every time I take it. I am an extroverted introvert, or maybe I’m an introverted extrovert. I like concrete concepts so I can observe patterns. I like objective truth, but I can predict motives. I like structure but I am very laissez faire and function without structure. Supposedly one of each of the quadrants is dominant, but you can have times where you function in the opposite quadrant. It’s also possible that Jung never was able to prove his theory and Mrs. Briggs and Mrs. Briggs-Myers were not much more informed and the test is useless. I’m willing to believe the latter more than the former.

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As the MBTI has faced recent scrutiny, the new personality test is the Enneagram. The most recent test of this personality type I found out I was a 4w6 or maybe a 3w4. The Enneagram is focused on 8 distinct types and tendencies towards a secondary type on the same spectrum. Since it’s relatively new, it’s possible that it is more reliable to the MBTI but I’m a skeptic, nonetheless.

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Before all these personality tests and types, many looked to either the Western or Oriental Zodiac signs. The Western Zodiac predicts people behave and think certain ways because of what time of the month a person is born and the location of constellations during that time of year. The Oriental Zodiac is based on an annual cycle rather than a monthly cycle. Both Zodiac personality indicators are less reliable than the MBTI and Enneagram. The location of stars and planets have little to do with your personality.

We all try to understand why we think and act the way we do, and I think the answer is simple yet complex. We are humans, and like snowflakes we are all unique. Like I mentioned with the MBTI, I vacillate between each type at any given moment.

Even as I can’t seem to make sense of why I change what MBTI type I am, or what Enneagram type I am I attribute it to that I am undefinable and the most unique. I also wonder if maybe I’m on the Autism spectrum or another mental health issue. None of this is ever been proven, and I’m probably grasping at straws like any of the other personality tests or predictors.

Of course, I probably pay attention to personality thanks to external factors. Like the cliche that a homely girl has a great personality, I’m sure based on my not-so-Adonis good looks, hopefully it could be said of me that I have a great personality. 😉

Which personality test do you prefer? What’s your Enneagram or MBTI identification?