For every thing there is a season. When we all lived in that great home in Seaton we never lacked for things to do. We had a whole town to explore, with cricks to examine for exotic wildlife, a ball diamond to play games, a lot to play football and tree to climb and see out toward forever.
This was the tree Bill Seaton would climb and yell Skiboo! or Bakee! depending on his mood or whether it was his mother or father calling him home for supper. We would climb as far as we could, then stay there for an hour talking of things long forgotten and likely of no great import today, but at the time as treasured as Fort Knox. At the time of our youth it was a big sprawling edifice that befitted the necessity of firing up the imaginations of the boys, and yes girls, it sheltered. It was a wonder of the neighborhood. A beacon of strength and promise of joy. From our dad lifting us up to the lowest limb when we were too small to reach, to the last day we stayed overnight, it was a constant; a perpetual symbol of kid and kinship.
I took this picture a couple weeks ago. It is still green and still majestic, but it is reaching the end of its time. It has a shaggy look to it now and the bark looks like an old dog, mangy and tired. The lowest limb that was the starting point for a climb is now gone, and from other limbs hangs not kids with laughing lee, but deer in the fall and, last week, a gutted pig. The lot that saw football games every weekend now sports a garden and storage shed. Every thing has a season. The beacon for neighborhood kids shines no more. There is no light nor kids to draw. Maples live to be a hundred so she isn't finished quite yet. But like me, we know this won't end well. The poet in me says God put that tree there to give us an idea of what strength and pure happiness really means. The realist says we were just damn lucky.
Facebook is a wonderful forum to connect with friends, shop, see cat videos and reinforce your political inclinations. I highly recommend it for most folks. It can be fun and infuriating. It is the beating heart of what we cavalierly call "social media". But I decided it wasn't for me. I'm stepping back and out. I terminated my Facebook account.
Like a wizard mixing his concoctions in a darkened corner, maybe lit only by a cell phone, my reasoning is threefold. One third, this, one third that and a dash of other things that came to a boil just before leaving for Northlandia. Before I go on I am not lambasting the forum or its proponents - it is just fine for most. Like the Avengers: Infinity War isn't for everyone (certainly not me), it is the height of entertainment for most.
The first third of the recipe was the loss of privacy in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook personnel as I understand it sold my information to Russian hackers, political operatives, consumer companies, and other media companies with their own agendas. The result was we got erroneous campaign information, endless attempts to get me to buy stuff I didn't want or need, and a kind of personally fashioned forum that was molded to coerce, misinform and otherwise downright falsely color my world. My world rather than the world, since it is designed just for me. The notion that Facebook is just a way to keep in contact with Aunt Minnie in Poughkeepsie is laughable. Since 911 we have all lost a certain amount of privacy, and Facebook's selling of mine for a buck is unforgiveable.
The second third revolves around my inability to stifle my opinions on certain issues. The first time was shortly after the massacre of kindergartners at Sandy Hook. I mentioned, on a thread regarding gun moderation, my opinion that perhaps we need to strengthen background checks. Mind you, this was a local G-Burg area thread with some guys I knew and thought would accept my opinion with equanimity. I was wrong. They volleyed back a barrage of crap and epithets best left unmentioned. The second time was a friend posted something like "type Amen and you will be rewarded by cash within 24 hours." The sheep who commented typed Amen and such stuff. I made my opinion known and, again, that it was ridiculous and to be aware that this type of post was a type of phishing. My unwanted intrusion into their gauzy Facebook unreal world was met with stuff hardly worthy of Christian Amens. The last third was that I was spending too much time with the little black screen on my little black phone watching and perhaps wishing? Wishing for what? Maybe not wishing, perhaps anticipating? Oh Hell, I don't know why I was watching that little screen and that scared me. I found myself grabbing my phone at every moment that was unfilled. Get up to pee at 1:45 and check fantasy baseball (that's OK) and then check Facebook. I then decided that looking at the world was preferable. Since I stopped my account I have seen things like rain, and blue sky, and birds and such. It is far more enlightening to me than what I was watching on Facebook. I have been freed. There were other dashes of this and that. I bought something through the site and then I became absolutely inundated with ads. They probably represented half of what was on my page. Another dash was, and I'm a bit embarrassed, that I was beginning to examine my life and finding it wanting, what with everyone else in the world was having fun and eating great meals and, gee, I have no life. Of course this is silly. I have fun, eat great things have fun with friends, but somehow my reasoning was even when I am having fun, everyone seems to be having more fun than me. Does this have something to do with my personal situation? Yup. Would I rather be in Northlandia? Yup. Well, you get my drift. I simply decided to put my blinders on and deal with what I have, as opposed to what I don't have. Another aspect to Facebook is its ability to connect. Since I was on it for years I simply figured anyone I wanted to connect with or wanted to find me have done so by now. For those of my readers who have accounts and wish to keep them, Bravo! There is no denying the entertainment value of Facebook. The memes are funny, the videos heartwarming and the occasional note from a friend can make a day. I am in no way advocating anything other than simply saying it was not for me. I have tilted at windmills before and hopefully will again. I won't even get into the fact that Facebook has allowed terrorism (Levant and ISIS) elements a forum, but also is able to hook terrorists up with other terrorists through its Find-A-friend program. Zuckerman has apologized and said they will do something about it but it could take years to accomplish. Years? I never thought my not being on Facebook would even be noticed. I got a message from old friend Dan K. in Oregon wondering if I left it because of all the privacy issues. I guess Dan knows me pretty well. Well, that's it, I guess. I'm still connected to the world through this blog, Messenger, email and texts, but I sure won't miss those damn cat videos.
A compendium of things personal, political, and just stuff found on the web designed to provoke, make you think, smile or get mad. I may or may not believe it so don't bite my head off. If this upsets you stay away. It's my party so I can type if I want to.
The United States Navy puts on a light show, Long Beach Harbor, May 26th, 1946.
Open For Business
This was floating around on Facebook last week. A picture of Seaton, Illinois, and fairly recently. The house in lower center, just across the street from the water tower, was my grandparents place. You can't see our place in the Eat End.
Randy A.: How did you get along with that hurricane?
Mike: I got along just fine.
Randy A.: It took a man from Seaton to do that.
In another life I was a one of these guys. Isn't this pretty cool? Apparently this is something some shgips did as they entered port. This ship, the Norwegian three-masted barque, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, is a training vessel.
What did Liberty Valance, aka, Donald Trump say to Melania after he had sex?
"I'll be home in 20 minutes."
Oh, nice banner welcoming all to its distinctive smell and taste, you are more than just a local legend, you are...
... the Galaxy's greatest pizza. (see you again in August)
Kudos to Columbia Auto Repair in Aledo, Illinois. They fixed my truck's brake line and got me rolling again while in Northlandia. I DO NOT like driving someone else's car. And, it seemed like a very cheap price. I bet if I'd had it done down here it would have cost three times what I paid.
Sunday Noon. Beer Bellies. May 13.
Speaking of Beer Bellies, Chuck brought in a large bag of morels.
And was giving them away free. Just imagine how many he found that he kept.
Flight back was dandy.
No one sat in my aisle. Perfect. I'm a people person, ask anyone, but every so often its nice to sit back, spread your legs and not have to do the convo thing.
Those of you who are slathering for news of the moldy post office have this latest update. They have moved the bank of mailboxes from the side of the firehouse to the front of the old bank, which will be the new home at some point. Apparently the post office administration said that the building is not yet secure. One of the village aldermen said in response, "Not secure? It was a fucking bank!"
The moment that you read this has been in the future for billions of years, and now it'll be in the past for eternity.
Who was cooler?
Creeping Charley. I hated it but now I miss it. And the air filled with the scent of lilacs. Spring In Northlandia.
And finally, as we get going for another stretch of posts...
It's great to be back. More on the trip to Northlandia later. I know you are all dying in anticipation of all the things explored, consumed, or observed. I have lots, but first let's celebrate Norah's 7th birthday. She was born on the day Obama's Navy SEALs plugged Obama bin Laden. This was the last day I was here in Kitschland until I hopped a plane to the Quad Cities.
Birthday parties haven't changed much since I was a kid. This was one of those surprise ones Kenzie dreamed up. After an astonished kid, and having invited friends, open gifts, gush with pleasure at all the hoopla, eat cake, then finish it all off with a piñata bashing. But wait! That's not all! A sleepover!
It was a nice time, and Norah was pleasantly surprised and quite happy being the center of all the attention.
Alfred couldn't resist grabbing handfuls of compressed sugar from the piñata.
Seven is a tough birthday. Too young yet to get treated like an adult, too old really to be a kid kid. All I know is I babysat her from age 6 months to 4 years old. We have a bond. It's there now, it always will be. I thought it would be nice to ease back into blogging after a nice 2 week layoff with a little family stuff. Easing back ...into...it. OK, here we go. Can't let Danny down. As for Northlandia, like all things, it had its ups and downs. Nice to see family and friends, truck broke down leaving me emotionally , if not virtually, wheel- less. Didn't see any night sky until the last morning, then sped about like a dervish. Even the local cop wanted to know what I was doing. Good food, lots of drink, funny people everywhere, had breakfast with the girls and had my Whitey's shake. Speaking of shake, I couldn't shake the old adage that guests start smelling like fish after three days. Anyway, my hosts were as gracious as ever and any thoughts of fish are my own and not radiating from others. More on the trip as we progress.
Time for Spring Fling. For the next two weeks I'll be in Northlandia. I never have enough time to do everything I want and I hear I'm going to be manning a paint brush at times. The NHCC will be closed a good deal of the time, but I'd like to do the following, if possible:
1. bike ride 2. Jerry's pizza 3. night sky photography 4. Beer Bellies or the Club 5. road trip 6. tenderloins 7. LaGondola Torpedo 8. Breakfast with the girls 9. Evening at NHCC 10. Car show at Alpha on the 12th 1. See some old friends If I can do some of that I'll be happy. When I return to Kitschland I have lot of babysitting the girls, yeah both, coming up for summer vacation. Three bad things about coming up now is the Wombie is plowing, my digs are unsettled, and I leave Whizbang and her housetraining. I should also tell you at this time, better take a seat, that this is the last post for awhile. I'll be back and running again soon but for the meantime, I think its best to go on vacation or hiatus for a couple weeks while I'm out of my control tower. Lets tentatively meet back up here on May 21st unless you hear differently. Play nice while I'm gone. I'm watching!