Just before Christmas, someone said to me "Watch, day after Christmas the Valentines day sh*t will be puked all over the insides of the stores, just watch". While /I didn't disagree, I thought there would be a few day lag between two monstrous commercial events, but they were right. By the 26th, Cupid had vomited copious volumes of Valentines day stuff. Everywhere.
A quick note and a call to action!
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So about this Valentines Day Post
It's the end of the year, and while I was not planning on writing a blog to close the year out, one had been bouncing around my head for a couple days. I have written so many blog articles this past year, most for work, some for my own private giggles, and you know what? I have found that despite my claims that I only have so many words and articles in me, I actually have a lot more when inspired! So here I am, closing an okay year out with my weird hobby of scribbling thoughts.
So my thoughts...
Ever since my Christmas post and my New Years post (I am an admin here, by the way) something has been bothering my, and I really could not put my finger on it until part way through today. Here we are, staring down the new year. People look at New Year's as a new beginning, rightfully so, even if it is an artificial demarcation between one year and the rest. Did you know that in Roman times the new year started in March?
Anyway, like New Year's, Christmas is full of artificial good will and cheer, a load of bologna . I see the fights in shopping lines, the cross people cutting others off in traffic, ther racing to the checkstand to beat others.
And what of Valentines Day? Ah yes, to have "someone special" to share it with. To share a kiss with said person, much like midnight on New Year's day.
There are others too...
On big sounding days that many take for granted, there's no shortage. However, there are goofy "holidays" which are otherwise called National Days, like National Pizza Day (which ought to be a holiday, in my opinion). January 3rd is National Festival of Sleep Day, and also Humiliation Day. January 4th is National Trivia day. Nope, I'm not making it up! January 4th? National Bird Day and National Whip Cream Day. What about National Nose Picking Day? Okay, I made that one up. I think.
Then there's the serious ones, like Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. Often confused among people, Memorial Day is the day we honor people who lost their lives in the service of our nation, and Veteran's Day is when we honor those who served our nation.
The Point is...
The point is that you MAY honor those fallen any day you like, or EVERY day if you like. You can honor those who served Each and Every day. As to Christmas, you can show that spirit all year long if you like. Goodwill and cheer are free, baby, and you can give that stuff away ALL. YEAR. LONG!
Celebrating a new beginning as you would on New Year's Day? You can scream and holler about a new beginning Each Day You Wake Up!
And Valentines Day, how about we show our significant other that we love them daily? Or is that a bit much? "But mister writer guy, I don't have anyone to share that with..." Well then, you'll be a sad sack come Valentines day, won't you? But once you do bag a babe or bae, or whatever the heck they call it today, you can, with my permission, be shot with cupids arrow daily!
You see, it's all contrived.
Supply and demand, and stocking up for sales is what it's all about. I don't think Memorial day has been commercialized out yet, but give it time, they, the marketers, will figure something out. Nothing is sacred in sales. Nothing. 4th of July? You can celebrate independence from Great Britain whenever you want, but setting a date for this marketing event fulfills the cycle of earn, advertise, sell/buy, repeat. Oh, sure, there are still a great many people who honor these special days in the spirit intended, but less each year.
So when you journey down to the local Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, and see they myriad of products for sale for the Next Big Holiday Event, But for the record, and to steer away from the cynical, Valentines Day was names after Saint Valentine.
Bishop Valentine was born and lived in Interamna and while on a temporary stay in Rome he was imprisoned, tortured, and martyred there on February 14, 269"
Why, you ask? Roman Emperor Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome so as to keep his army strong. Those wacky Romans, I'll tell ya. Valentinus, Valentines proper name, wasn't having any of that. "By golly, if the young'uns wanna get hitched and get it on, knockin' boots and all that, I'mma gonna marry 'em, dadgummit." Okay, to be fair, he probably didn't sound all Appalachian. He was Roman, after all. It just sounds like a better story to me, the writer.
Anyhoo, Claudius was none-too-happy about this, what with his authority usurped and all, and, well, Valentinus lost his head.
Valentines Day isn't just for a smooch and a quicky, it is also to honor this man who saw love as the greater of all human activities. He saw it as inspired by God, and as being far more important than the dictates of an emperor. He knew he'd be punished for it, and that performing these weedings could end his life, but this man did it anyway. Love is greater than all.
And right he was. Now if we can just hold on on the commercial aspects of it all for, oh, I duuno, a week or two?
Welcome to the Friendslr Social Network! Here we will fill you in on what Friendslr is, why it is, and what it's mission is. Actually, there is no real mission, per se, so we can largely ignore that with a few sentences, as, for the most part, the What and Why's covers all that. Furthermore, what it isn't helps to inform and define Friendslr.com as well.
First, let's talk social networks.
The original social network was MySpace. you remember that place, right? Tom would be your first friend, what with his white T-shirt, turned towards the camera smiling in front of his computer desk. What ever happened to Tom? Or for that matter, MySpace? Oh, it's still around, and is a good cautionary tale for why You Don't Fix Something Which Is Not Broken! Oh, sure, there were social network type things pre-MySpace, forums and such. I remember some entity called Trumpet, or something, on Compuserve, which was a live 24 hour chat area. CB, I think it was called. I was a member, and I spent a good many hours chatting with these folks, gosh, so much great humor. Seems a good many of those folks were programmers, and some were "beneficial hackers." They would break into others servers and re-write poorly written code. Yep, a buncha entertaining geeks. Also, in a way, the recently discontinued AOL AIM was a quasi social network, but circliong back, the original one one was MySpace.
While MySpace Floundered...
In June of 2009, Facebook blew past MySpace in total users, a really good indicator of popularity, and never looked back. MySpace made a lot of bad decisions, and Facebook capitalized. Simple. As. That. In July of 2006, MySpace was far ahead of both Google and Yahoo Mail as the most visited, popular site. Period.
Facebook Perfected social Networking
While MySpace create the concept of the social network, Facebook perfected the same. A clear vision, and concise direction at Facebook, and huge mistakes by MySpace enabled Facebook to rule the social networking landscape.
Google Gets Into The Act
Google does a lot of stuff really well. In a way, Google has a similar story to Facebook. They are both second generation iterations of first generation successes. MySpace led to Facebook doing it better, Yahoo led to Google also doing it better. And while sitting and watching Facebook grow from the sidelines, someone at Google maybe thought, "Wait a minute, these guys are getting big! Big is our thing, this Facebook site could threaten us in terms of internet domination!" Either that, or they thought, "Hells bells, we can do this social network thing better, we'll do it different, with 'circles' instead of friends lists, and call it Google Plus. Shoot, we, like, OWN the internet, what could go wrong?" Well, mon frere, a lot could. Just because you're good at some things does not mean you're good at all things. See this article: Why Does Google Plus Exist
Okay, I'll be frank here: (hi Frank!) I do not understand Twitter. Yes, I have several accounts, I nearly never use them. If you're reading this, you can obviously tell that I have much to say. I cannot do that in 140 characters. That would be, from the beginning of this article: "Welcome to the Friendslr Social Network! Here we will fill you in on what Friendslr is, why it is, and what it's mission is. Actually, there". That's barely a SNEEZE when it comes to conveying an idea!!! One cannot convey much in so little space. Earlier today I read a report of a semi famous crime, and browsed through one of the criminals tweets, from before jail, to before the crime. What a load of nonsensical blather! Still, Twitter is an incredibly successful venture, so obviously expressing micro-thoughts is pretty popular. On the other hand, long, say, 300 word Facebook posts are, oh, I dunno...ANNOYING!
A Gazillion Others
There are a whole slew of other social networks on the internet today, like this one, Friendslr.com. Many of them deliberately copy Facebook, I mean literally. They run on software touted as Facebook clone software. Google it, you'll see. We at Friendslr explored all sorts of software, whole package website solutions, as well as CMS and blog platform solutions. We liked exactly none of them completely. OSSN was neat, but no, WordPress gave us great blogging tools, but clunky social networking. Many of our other sites run WordPress, and as a blogging solution, it is far and away the best. As a matter of fact, I am writing this article on one of our WordPress sites, and will transfer it into Friendslr when the article is done. We tried Jomsocial running atop Joomla, that was not a good fit either. Now we have a solid site that runs quickly, and does everything we want it to for the most part.
How Is Friendslr social Network different?
Well, for the most part, it isn't. There are a lot of languishing social netwroks in the world today, and I have every reason to suspect Friendslr will be one of those too. However, we have a plan, and if the plan is right, and is executed correctly, maybe we'll garner 1/10th a percent the traffic the big boys do, and we're content with that.
As to how it is different, stick around and see, We are planning on releasing articles of interest regularly, and invite you, the user/reader to join in. Comment, write your own articles, become published, and as importantly, become a part of something new, something growing. You see, when I was thinking of leaving my Compuserve cronies, I mentioned it in the group. Kini-shakeNbake (Hi Jennifer!) exclaimed "No, you can't do that! You're of the movers and shakers!" Bright kid, but wrong on that, I thought at the time. It's about the user experience, not the individuals, although the individuals provide the experience, I learned later.
So hang with us a while, sit a spell
I'm Steve, the Admin, the creator of Friendslr.com social Network, or more accurately, compiler of it. We're happy to have you visit, join, contribute, whatever. I will friend each one of you, a la Tom, but one critical difference is, I'm an old guy, and I want what we all want: to have fun online. I want this to be a safe and fun place. so enjoy. The cost to smile is exactly the same as using Friendslr: Nothing. Thank you for existing! And thank you for sharing.
Super Bowl 2018, or also called Super Bowl LII in roman numerals (52 for those of you calling it "Super Bowl Lee") will be played on February 4th, 2018.
The game will be played in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the U.S. Bank Stadium. Kind of a weird name for a stadium, but hey, it will bring in bank, I'm sure.
This game will be a match up between the AFC Champion New England Patriots, perennial favorites, and the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Patriots By Six
Right now the odds makers have it pegged as the Patriots winning by 6. I think it will be a greater margin though. I almost always root for the NFC, despite the representative, as very few AFC teams appeal to me. Actually, I loathe the AFC, for the most part. The only teams I like are, well, the Steelers, and, um, well, that's about it. However, that having been said, is it even remotely possible that the Patriots won't blow out the Eagles? Personally I do not like the Pats, nor Tom Brady (who really does? Huh?) but let's face it, this team, and Brady are, year in and year out, top notch, A+, top drawer, whatever superlatives you like.
By the Way, you can join the Friendslr.com community for FREE! Use is free as well. Comment, rebut this article, make new friends, and if you like, write an article or two!
Pink and Timblerlake
If the entertainment on the gridiron is not to your liking, maybe the entertainment otherwise will be. Pink will be singing the national anthem, and the halftime show will feature Justin Timberlake. Meh. I'm sure the commercials will be good, although last year's were marginal at best.
Coverage starts at 6:30 PM Eastern, 3:30 PM Pacific on NBC.
The Match-up From Hell
I canniot imagine a worse match up for television ratings. Here you have two east coast teams, separated by 309.5 miles, playing for a country (and world) which has very little attachment to either, culturally, civic-ally, whatever. Oh, sure, the rating will be superb in Philly and Boston, nay, the East Coast, but those of us out west really could give a crap about the game, aside from commercials. for myself, I have had no need to watch a single game this year once the kneeling stuff started.
Breaking it down
As this super bowl 2018 features the Eagles and Patriots, let's consider their stats. Patriots 13-3 record. Eagles 13-3 record.
The Pats were 3-1 against the NFC. The Eagles were 3-1 against the AFC.
Patriots vs. Eagles, Pats lead the series 7 games to 6.
The Giants beat the Patriots 40-38 in September 2017. The Eagles beat the Giants the same month 27-24, and again in December 34-29. The Chiefs beat the Patriots 42-27 in September, and they beat the Eagles 27-20 the same month. The Panthers beat the Patriots 33-30 in October, but the Eagles beat the Panthers 28-23 the same month. The Jets beat the Eagles 16-10 in August, the Pats beats the Jets 24-17 and 26-0 in October and December. Pats beat Falcons 23-7 in October, Eagles beat them in postseason 15-10. The Eagles beat the Chargers 26-24 in October, the Patriots beat them 21-13 the same month. In November the Patriots beat the Broncos 41-16, the same month the Eagles beat them 51-23. Patriots over the Raiders 33-8 in November, Eagles over Raiders 19-10 in December. Patriots over Dolphins 35-17 and 27-20 in Nov and Dec, Eagles over Dolphins 38-31 in August. Eagles beat the Bills 20-16 in August, Pats did it twice, 23-20 and 37-16, both in December.
Patriots | Points For | Points Against 458 296 Eagles | Points For | Points Against 457 295
Pretty even stats for a Super Bowl
All in all, I'd say this is a VERY even match for Super Bowl 2018! Maybe it won't be a blow out. In fact, the Eagles have an outstanding chance of beating New England, and I hope they do! However, the QB position might just make all the difference in the world. Brady vs the Eagles backup Nick Foles. Everyone knows Brady, but what the heck is a Foles? Is't that a baby horse or something?
None-the-less, Foles will be starting in place off ACL injured 2nd year man Wentz, and we wish him the best of luck, he'll need it.
also bear in mind neither the Eagles nor the Pats were in very tough divisions this year. However, the Saints and Panthers were, and where did it get them? Not in the Super Bowl, that's where!
Now that Christmas has passed, or the 1st half of the holidays (Holy Days?), the phrase "Happy New Year" will be on all our tongues. No more Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, or for you Seinfeld fans out there, Joyous Festivus. It will just be day to day life once again, what, with the dearth of cheery, and obnoxious carols, ditties, written to evoke a feeling of a season, as well as guilting folks into a false celebration of the birth a couple thousand years ago, which in all likelihood did not occur in December. Before the hate mail starts, I believe the birth occurred, but not on the date we celebrate. This, in a way, erases much of the authenticity of the event celebrated, in my opinion. Or does it? for me, the uttering of Happy New Year sort of puts the "season" behind us, what with all it's false (and some genuine) "good will for all man kind" nonsense.
New year's eve and day are more honest holidays, plain and simple, which I'll get to is just a moment, but in the mean time, Happy New Year!
What do we celebrate?
In two words, we celebrate Corporate Earnings above all else during the Christmas Season. Dlo I sound like a cynic? Well, I am to an extent, but I am also a realist.
The red and white garb Santa wears? Straight from a Coca Cola advertising campaign, Note that he wears the company colors? See ad here.
The Macy's Christmas Parade, sponsored by Macy's, a large corporate department store.
We end Thanksgiving being thankful for what we have, just to rampage the shopping malls (and Walmart) the next day, on Black Friday just to buy MORE things for Christmas. Or the Holiday Season, whatever. Do you know why it's called Black Friday? That traditionally the day of the year that businesses finally turn a profit for the year, going from the "red ink" (debt) to Black Ink (profit).
The are a gazillion more examples, Hallmark cards, Christmas specials on the boob-tube, yadda yadda, ad nauseam, so suffice it to say, the whole shebang stinks to high heaven of corporate manipulation. We are the puppets. Black Friday and the day after Christmas (boxing day) are the two biggest shopping days of the year.
What should we celebrate?
Well, that's an open ended question, now isn't it? There are so many people I know who have varying belief systems. There are Christians with Christmas, as well as every other religion out there with their own thing. Pagans with their solstice, (amazing how many Wiccans I know who go on an on about what they want for Christmas) and every other worship system that I can't tell a Christian, or anyone else what they ought to do for the season, however one over-riding theme of "the season" is brotherly love, Kindness, joy, and kinship with all mankind. That can stick. However, I have seen, in every holiday season of my life, that this just isn't so. It doesn't happen. See that man fighting with another over that parking space? Those ladies slugging it out over the game console? The frowning person over there, sad because they "didn't get what they wanted?" The Prius driver with the "Joy Sticker on the back window angrily cutting off other drivers? No, this is not what it's about, that I can say.
A take on New Years
Lyric for an awful lot of my thought processes, Written or sung, truth is truth. This from an old Styx song named "Man in the Wilderness" comes to mind:
Another year has passed me by Still I look a myself and cry What kind of man have I become? All of the years I've spent in search of myself And I'm still in the dark...
Do you examine your past year(s)?
Well, you do? Or do you simply try to drown it away with a lot of alcohol? Or, maybe, you simply don't think about it? Hey, New Year's really IS just another excuse to drink too much, no? Well, no.
I believe New Year's is a much more honest and authentic holiday than Christmas is, None of that "Oh, what am I going to get" stuff. No pretending that one has been good all year long, or at all, for that matter. Mope, just grab a bottle or two of bubble, or whatever your particular poison is, and drink until you are buzzed. Or hammered. No sweating if someone is going to like what you got them. No wrapping anything, hiding it behind some weird printed paper held together by tape.
And best of all, you're saying goodbye to the prior year, be it a gone one or bad, no matter. You are welcoming in a whole new year, usually with optimism for the coming year, even if said high hopes are ill founded. See, here's the beauty: You won't really know that is has been a crappy year for another year!
Do you really mean it when you say Merry Christmas?
Probably not. The person you're saying it to might be an atheist. Or of some other religion. For YOU it may mean something, but to another it may not. However, nearly everyone celebrates New Year's Day.
Let me narrow down this whole entry a bit. I have seen more anti-social, nasty behavior this last holiday season than I can recall seeing in any other two put together. Clearly the meaning is lost on a good many people.
I remember, growing up, a comic strip in the Sunday papers, Rick O'Shay. the Christmas strip was usually like the one below. The cowboy rides out of town in the snow, the people are celebrating in various ways as he rides out alone, cold. He gets a ways out of town beneath the beautiful, starry sky, stops and says only, "Happy Birthday, Boss." That has struck with me my whole life. That is the menacing of Christmas.
The meaning of the New Year?
Hope. Hope which ought to be hope eternal, that hope for a renewed bowl of optimism, even if it is started of in an inebriated state. Oh, and marking the time and passage of our lives.
So Happy New Year, all of you, hope to see you on the other side!