In Defense of Facebook – by Barney Likezitt

In Defense of Facebook – by Barney Likezitt

This week’s View From The Bleachers guest commentator is Barney Likezitt, from Dayton, Ohio. Barney loves America and he really loves Facebook – oh, and beer!

This week’s View From The Bleachers guest commentator is Barney Likezitt, from Dayton, Ohio. Barney loves America and he really loves Facebook – oh, and beer!

[Note from the Staff of VFTB: Tim Jones is on vacation this week, so in his place, we invite you to enjoy this guest commentary by Barney Likezitt, an ardent Facebook advocate who would like to defend this social media site against its detractors. The views expressed by Mr. Likezitt do not necessarily reflect the views of Tim Jones or the staff of VFTB or any of its readers.]

Sometimes, I wonder how I survived life prior to 2004 – the year that the modern world’s greatest invention was created. No, not the beer helmet. I’m talking about Facebook. It’s hard for me to recall how I spent those nine hours a day before Facebook entered my life. Oh, now I remember. I was raising a family.

Since its inception, the number of Facebook users has grown to 2.4 billion. That means on any given day, roughly one out of every three people on the planet is updating their Facebook status while pretending to work. Some Negative Nellies consider Facebook a waste of time. But if you ask me, showering, shaving and putting on pants are much bigger time wasters. Watching hilarious videos of people falling into wedding cakes makes me laugh. And we all know laughter is the best medicine. Besides, Facebook’s also a great way to keep tabs on my kids’ activities. Why should I put myself through the annoyance of interacting with my brooding, self-absorbed 15-year-old daughter Megan when I can covertly scroll down her Facebook timeline?

More importantly – oh wait…. Someone just uploaded the funniest GIF where Hilary’s face was CGI’d onto a donkey. LOL. I have to share that one….

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh, right, Facebook is a great way to reconnect with people. Talk about blasts from the past! This very morning, I received a friend invitation from Ned Lumpkin, who I vaguely recall might have been in my ninth grade algebra class. Or perhaps it was a bot (I am so hip with the FB lingo). So, naturally, I accepted his / its friend invitation. I also reconnected with a former college flame named Brenda. She has definitely NOT aged well. I have no idea how Brenda is doing these days, but her Schnauzer Butch posts the most hilarious cat videos.

Don’t try to argue that Facebook isn’t educational. That’s fake news. Why, in the last hour, I learned that most alien abductions occur in Bluff, Alaska, climate change is a hoax, Brexit is going to save Great Britain, Brexit is going to ruin Great Britain, and I can buy a cool new litter box that will solve all my pet’s excretory issues for only three easy payments of $19.95.

Sometimes I wonder: What if the Founding Fathers had had access to Facebook? They could have saved so much time – and parchment – if they’d merely shared the Declaration of Independence on Facebook.

And when it came to voting on the various Articles of the Constitution, each delegate to the Constitutional Convention could have simply indicated either  or . Admittedly, there would probably have been a few snarky comments from defenders of King George, but Madison, Jefferson and their cronies could have unfriended them. Easier and more targeted than a musket shot.

I’m very politically active on Facebook because I love my country. I will thoughtfully react with a  to all Fox News articles. And I have signed every petition to deport anyone with black hair (which covers most questionable minorities). Now you might say, “Hey, Barney, if you’re so concerned about our nation’s future, how about doing some fundraising calls to stop gun violence, or knocking on doors for signatures on a petition to end inequality in the workforce?” And of course I would, but It takes forever just to type “Send her back” in response to the latest insightful MAGA rant. I can’t do everything, ya’ know!

Unlike TV, where the commercials are constantly in your face, Facebook allows me to choose which intriguing teaser ads I want to look at, like “Famous Musicians who are Serving Time in Prison” and “5 Foods to Burn Away that Belly Fat” and ”Whatever Happened to Calista Flockhart?” and “Poll: What Would You Sell Your Soul to the Devil For?” There are life lessons to be learned here.

Some detractors express concern that Facebook is collecting tons of data about every user without their permission. Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg’s company makes billions by sharing this info with marketers, Russian hackers, and “attractive single women” in Turkmenistan who are looking to meet me. What’s wrong with that? Besides, did I mention I’m single?

Why all the fuss? If you ask me, sharing my most personal data about my political leanings, how I looked in 4th grade, and my online purchase history for the past six years (I can explain the inflatable doll if you’d give me a chance) is a small price to pay to find out the latest news in the celebrity feud between Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. Personally, I’m on Miley’s side. Taylor can be such a prima donna.

Thomas Jefferson’s latest Facebook status update: “Congrats to Luis and Clark on their awesome Exploration” – HA! Jefferson misspelled “Lewis.” LOL.

Thomas Jefferson’s latest Facebook status update: “Congrats to Luis and Clark on their awesome Exploration” – HA! Jefferson misspelled “Lewis.” LOL.

I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not addicted to Facebook. It’s not like I sit around all day compulsively checking my  feed. Sometimes I do it lying down. And I take plenty of walks – to the bathroom, the fridge (to get another beer) and back to the couch. So don’t tell me I’m missing out on life.

For you arrogant neo-luddites who self-righteously point out that you’ve never been on Facebook, you can wipe that smug, superior expression off your faces. Go walk in the park with your family or read that riveting new novel by J.K. Rowling, or…or… climb Mount Everest. Meanwhile, I’ll be checking out what my very dear old friend Ned Lumpkin is up to. Unlike me, you would have missed the video he shared of a golfer who drove his cart into a lake. LOL.

Well, I have to go. A moment ago, I noticed an important FB post: “Proof that Princess Meghan Markle isn’t a very nice person.” I always suspected…. – By Barney Likezitt*

[* VFTB Staff Note: You may be asking yourself, ‘Where did you guys find this Barney Likezitt fellow?’ Um, the photo above of Barney is a random stock photo. Barney is not a real person.]

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time 

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Trying to Go Offline

Trying to Go Offline

I’ve been told that I have a hard time unplugging from work during vacation. That’s an unfair charge. As you can clearly see, I’m all set for snorkeling. Sure hope my laptop is waterproof.

I’ve been told that I have a hard time unplugging from work during vacation. That’s an unfair charge. As you can clearly see, I’m all set for snorkeling. Sure hope my laptop is waterproof.

Life is short – especially for my wife, who’s  barely five feet tall. The years race by, we waste time, and before you know it, we discover we’ve missed out on what’s important in life: pizza.

Add to this reality our obsession with technology, which is constantly at our fingertips. It can be hard to break free from the bombardment of texts, social media and emails constantly vying for our attention. I can easily pull an all-nighter just watching Randy Rainbow videos on YouTube.

That’s why my wife and I have decided to get away from it all. Right now, we’re vacationing on a pristine island paradise thousands of miles from any major city. I won’t reveal where we are, because we’ve chosen to unplug from the hectic pace of our lives.

In the spirit of getting off the grid, I even left my laptop at home (because, frankly, who needs a laptop if you have a smart phone – just ask anyone under the age of 25). For one week, we’re going to focus on slowing down, breathing in the ocean air, and smelling the roses (though I’ve yet to spot a rose). We plan to take long hikes, kayak, and –

… Sorry about that. I just got a text from my sister. Thought it might be important. She’s been going through an issue at work with her boss… Like I said, for the next seven days, I’m committed to getting in touch with myself … just as soon as I get in touch with my broker. Hold that thought….

… Again, my apologies. I realized that there was a voicemail from my broker marked “Urgent.” Had to check it. He advised me to sell all my Sears stock while they’re still worth 15 cents a share.

…. Now, where was I? Oh yes, being totally present with my wife during our special 168 hours alone…. So, this evening, I’m surprising her by taking her to see … a penguin playing the piano! OMG, that’s hilarious. Oh, sorry. Someone just posted on FB the funniest clip of a penguin. You really need to see it. Soooo cute!

… My point is that I really want to slow my life down and be totally here, in the moment, with the most special person in my life… The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Hey, Season Two is now streaming on Amazon! There go my plans for a nature walk this afternoon with my sweetie.

This man is on top of the world, totally present with nature. What’s he thinking in his moment of Zen? If I had to wager a guess, it’s probably, “What the F? No internet? “

This man is on top of the world, totally present with nature. What’s he thinking in his moment of Zen? If I had to wager a guess, it’s probably, “What the F? No internet? “

[Nine hours later] … I’ve just finished binge-watching the second season of Mrs. Maisel. Fortunately, we have six more days here on Fantasy Island to smell the flowers and feel the ocean … BREEZ!!! Are you kidding me? The Saints are seriously considering trading Hall of Fame QB Drew Breez for a 1st round draft pick? That’s what my ESPN alert message just notified me. Unbelievable.

I know what you’re thinking – Tim, you are clearly incapable of unplugging. You need a 12-Step Program. I admit, I got off to a bumpy start, but now I’m even more determined to turn off all devices and concentrate on some us time with my lovely wife. She puts up with so much from me, standing by me through even the most stormy … DANIELS hush money lawsuit against Trump might get tossed – according to Politico. Thank goodness I’m on their email list or I’d have missed this crucial news story.

Speaking of emails, there are 78 new ones in my inbox – mostly from work. Hmmm…. I can power through them in a flash, send out a blast “Out of office” message, and still have time to chillax the rest of the trip. That’ll work.

[Three hours later…] There! Job done! I am SO looking forward to lying in a chaise lounge on the beach, sipping a Mountain Dew from a frosted mug, and reading a good book. Ugh! I can’t see the screen on my Kindle with this blazing sun! Alright, I’ll just close my eyes and listen to the soothing sounds of waves lapping against the shore …. on Pandora. Or how about some Calypso music? That conga beat makes me feel like I’m on a tropical island – oh, right, I am.

That’s it. No more distractions. From now on this week, I’m only going to think about what really matters (other than pizza) and ask myself the important questions, like how to be a better husband and how to do my part to tackle global warming … how many licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? And should The Wall be built of Legos? Sorry, that last one was an insta-poll question from Buzzfeed. How embarrassing. I thought I had unsubscribed.

Look at this businessman. Oblivious to the beauty around him as he checks his email. So ridiculous - using all that data. Doesn’t he know the hotel has WiFi?

Look at this businessman. Oblivious to the beauty around him as he checks his email. So ridiculous – using all that data. Doesn’t he know the hotel has WiFi?

Anyway, I can’t wait to take windsurfing lessons – something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a quick study when it comes to sports, so mastering this should be a snap… chat from our elder daughter. She sent an adorable video of her two kitties chasing the laser pointer. Never seen that before!

Like I was saying, it’s all about the here and now. In a minute, I’m going to take my wife out on a bicycle built for two. Won’t she be surprised when she learns that … Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France! Okay, I don’t know who he is, so I guess I could have ignored that alert.

Hmm, I think I should just leave the phone in our room, so it can’t distract me anymore. Time to get some fresh air and enjoy the warmth of the tropical sun … which reminds me, my friend Elizabeth has an amazing Pinterest site with tons of photos of tropical flowers and beaches and even videos of wind surfers. And I can view them all from the comfy couch in our hotel room.

Ah, it’s wonderful to unplug for a change.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Don’t Let Email and Facebook Take Over Your Life

Don’t Let Email and Facebook Take Over Your Life

Email addiction - GrouponThere is a growing problem in this country. It’s the bombardment of messages we receive virtually nonstop every single day, thanks to the increasing omnipresence of email, text messaging and social media in our lives.

Today I want to tell you how you can break free from the distraction of – hey look! An email from Ace Hardware. They’re offering 15% off hammers today only. How’d they know I needed a new hammer? Where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about the importance of staying in the moment and not letting outside email distractions cause us to get – Wow! My team is up by 10 at the half.  Thanks for the text, Sis. Go, Buckeyes!

My point is, we need to take back control of our lives and not let our laptops and smart phones dictate how we spend our time. There is nothing more important in life than – Adele’s latest tweet announcing, “I’m back with a brand new single. Watch the video now: http://trib.al/utC***z”.  Wow, that was awesome. She sure has a set of pipes….

As I was saying, too often we bounce from one distraction to the next when what we really should be doing is using our time to appreciate – this important email I just got from Donald Trump claiming that Ted Cruz is an idiot….

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America’s worsening attention span probl – Hey, Pam just texted me :  )

America’s worsening attention span probl – Hey, Pam just texted me : )

attention span - frowny faceRecently I have noticed a disturbing trend. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. In fact, if you’re like 85% of Americans under the age of 35, you lost interest after the sentence Recently I have noticed a disturbing trend. It’s an epidemic.

For the 15% of you still reading, let me explain. Thanks to texting, people now spell the words U and B4 because they don’t have the patience anymore to take the extra two seconds required to spell out you and before. God forbid the word might contain more than two syllables, such as a word like, well, syllables. People simply can’t be bothered – too many keystrokes. And when was the last time you wrote a personal handwritten letter? Let me guess. President Clinton was still dating Monica, right?

Thanks to Facebook, we have all become conditioned to posting micro comments on people’s “walls” which according to the Facebook Code of  Condensed Communication Conduct (FCCCC) must not exceed 24 characters. Say your family dog passed away after 18 years, and you decided to share your grief about your loss. Here is the response you would likely receive from one of your closest  friends:

1)     In 1974: Hey, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Golden Retriever Buster. I know that he was a family member to you. I hope you can be heartened in your time of grief knowing that he lived a good life. I hope you don’t mind but I baked you my homemade apple pie. I am always here for you. (This note would of course have been handwritten.)

2)     In 1994: Hey, so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. What was his name? Anyway, imagine you’re pretty bummed. Would love to talk more, but gotta go – Monica’s soccer match. Can’t be late. (Sent by email.)

3)     In 2014: Hey,  attention span - frowny face - small(Sent by iPhone.)

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History Improved through technology: Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” Tweet

History Improved through technology: Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” Tweet

twitter bird - main

I was tweeting the other day – you know, on Twitter…. What, you are not familiar with Twitter? How about Facebook? No? Does “the Internet” ring a bell? Okay, in case you’re still living in that cave in Northern Afghanistan (or are my elderly mother) and you’re still not familiar with Twitter, it’s this web site where you can tell the world what you’re doing – so long as you can do it in 140 characters or less.  But, and this is key, your message must be of interest to absolutely NOBODY but yourself.

It is such an incredible improvement over previous ways of communicating online. Instead of having to pound out long, detailed emails, now you can post easy-to-skim “tweets” as Twitter posts are called.  Oh sure, some people say that most tweets are just a complete narcissistic waste of time. But I could not disagree more. Heck, just this morning, I learned the following very timely and helpful information at my Twitter home page from some fascinating people, a couple of whom I think I might have actually heard of:

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