Crones of Anarchy

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Facebook and AGMA have been a ‘thing’ for over 10 years now.

Mostly, it’s been a positive ‘thing’. To prevent hacks, my page’s security is as tight as Melania’s face. And I’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen since Richard Nixon was pseudo-President and The Beatles were still making beautiful music together.

Facebook has changed a lot these past 10+ years.

Now it has all these algorithms built in it to target tons of advertising and the appropriate Russian trolls to on your personal FB page. They also dictate which one of your friend’s posts appear on your timeline. So you can have 400 ‘friends’ (serioulsy?) but only see the posts of 25 of them on your timeline. You can always pop on over to those 375 other ‘friend’s’ (seriously?) pages to see what they’re up to, but c’mon…

“What the hell is an algorithm anyway?”

I’m glad you asked.

According to the first definition that pops up on Google, an algorithm is “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”

Clear as the accounting on the Trump Foundation’s balance sheets, right?

I guess Facebook used special algorithms when it sent all of our personal information to Cambridge Analytica for the tRumputin campaign.  Those wacky kids!

But AGMA fully believed Mark Zuckerburg when he said Facebook would change it’s ways. And AGMA fully believed that Facebook would do an amazing job of protecting its users data in the future from unauthorized collection. AGMA also fully believed that Facebook would not need any government regulation – they would do just a dandy job policing themselves.

Oh crap! I misspoke. I meant wouldn’t! WOULDN’T!!

But despite the trolls and stolen personal data, AGMA still has her FB page. They say a bad love is better than no love at all…

However, the number of ‘friends’ AGMA can claim has dwindled a bit since November 8, 2016. My posts since that day have tended towards scathing criticisms of Putin’s Puppet and his band of merry traitors. I asked people to de-friend AGMA if my posts offended them. Some obliged. Quite a few actually.

Including my brother. He also de-friended my sister, who is the most gentle soul you can imagine, because she’s against caging children, supports common sense gun laws and wants a President who actually likes the rule of law, democracy, American, and Americans. And our allies.

Go figure.

One day, under the “Facebook Pages You Might LIke” side bar on my FB page (clearly al-go-rhythm driven), a page named Crones of Anarchy popped up. Clearly the name held great appeal for AGMA.

Why not?

AGMA’s definitely a Crone, and a little bit of Anarchy is good for the soul.

But to be a part of the Crone club, you had to take a test. AGMA hates tests. I guess they don’t want any posers – Russian trolls or males or unCroney women. Or Cult45-ers.

I get that.

The good news is that I passed! I’m in baby!! AGMA’s officially a Crone!

But then you knew that.

So if any of you ladies are on Facebook and have felt, deep on the inside, that you are and have always been a Crone, check them out.

Guys…AGMA doesn’t know what to tell you… Maybe the Crones of Anarchy can start a fraternal branch. You know, like the Eastern Star is to the Masons?

I’ll make that suggestion at our next Crone meeting and get back to you.

 

P.S. AGMA sincerely apologizes for my unexplained absence these past 2 weeks. Been visiting the MAGCITW (the grands) which is always exhausting and all time consuming.

I missed a lot of sh*t that went on in the world while I was immersed in Peppa Pig and playing good car/bad car/good train/bad train.

Sending late, but very hardy KUDOS to my friends living in the UK (or is it England, or Great Britain, or the United Kingdom?) for the AWESOME BABY TRUMP BALLOON!

And having a Queen who, very passive aggressively, wore her Barack Obama gifted brooch when meeting Putin’s Poodle. You rock Beth!

Hail Britannia!

The dark side of the ElderTech force

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For the most part, it’s exciting that older folks are adopting new technologies.  But along with all the fun stuff, there has to be a measure – a good, large measure – of caution.  We all know there are scumbags out there who troll the Internet for people’s personal information to make a dishonest buck.

I can’t tell you how often AGMA has been contacted by a Nigerian prince or a long lost, distant “relative” offering to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams.  Sweet!  Maybe I can buy that Porsche I’ve always wanted.

TANSTAAFL.

And sometimes the tolls get help from our alma maters, Target, Home Depot and the U.S. Government .  Yes, we’ve had our personal data compromised (code word for stolen) from all four of them.  Lucky us.  Names, birth dates, social security numbers – the whole shebang.  I’m just waiting to find out that I’ve bought that cute little red Porsche 911 convertible in Las Vegas or my 401K has been reinvested.  With a Nigerian prince.

The worst of the worst – the bottom dwellers in the criminal gene pool – prey on the truly elderly who might not be in total possession of their ability to reason and reflect. Like my mother-in-law.

My 81 year old MIL thinks she is doing just fine.  A two week trip to Ireland in 2013 with her convinced me she really isn’t.  I went as a traveling companion, not by choice, but to help her keep her safe and “navigate” a horrible trip that her travel agent put together for her that involved all bus and train travel.  Huh?  In the end, I was glad I went – sort of – because there was no way she could have navigated it all safely by herself.

Her solo trip to Rome this past February when she stayed in her hotel for the ENTIRE week is proof of the pudding.  She said she didn’t go out because it rained all week.  No Coliseum, no Sistine Chapel, no Spanish Steps, no Roman Forum.  You can read my post from February leading up to that a little adventure.  My head is still hurting.

She’s in the beginning stages of dementia.  But she thinks she is doing just fine.  Just. Fine.

This is not a good place to be especially since Facebook is her BFF.  Despite repeated warnings from us not to friend people she doesn’t know, she has many “friends” who aren’t real people.  The “men” – all claiming to be in their 50‘s and 60‘s – flirt with her.  She’s a lonely widow who thinks she’s still one hot mama, so she flirts back.  Seriously.  They ask for money.  And God know what else.

Last fall she sent $8000 to one of her “friends”, a “millionaire” who needed a bridge loan to buy an oil well drill bit until his bank can though with financing.  My MIL lives on a fixed income.  She’s still waiting for her dividend check.

OMG… Shoot me now!

She posts information and pictures that would allow the scumbags to find her house if they wanted to track her down.  She lives alone.  We’re pretty worried about her especially since she lives 1700 miles away.

When, once again, my hub gave her the “not everybody on Facebook is what they appear to be so don’t friend anybody you don’t know” talks, and offered to help her de-friend the scumbags, she threatened to de-friend us!  She said we were interfering with the “joy of her Facebook experience.”  I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up!

And, unfortunately, there’s is absolutely nothing we can do about any of it until she goes broke or gets in an accident or worse.  We’re really praying it’s not the worse.

So enjoy technology, and help your peers and parents enjoy all it has to offer.  But, just like we warn our little ones when they are young, teach them to be very wary of strangers.  And show them how to set their security settings tighter than one of Kim Kardashian’s pre-pregnancy dresses.

I sure hope my AGMA-alter enjoys driving my Porsche in the Nevada desert.  I bet it’s a blast!

I can almost feel the wind blowing in my hair.

A No Cute Cat Video Lent

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I’m not good at giving up things for Lent.  I either pick something really lame or get a start late.  Then I usually really push the boundaries of what I’ve given up.  

Last year, I gave up drinking mochas.  I love mochas.  I’m emotionally dependent on mochas.  Some days I live for my mocha. That was a pretty major thing for me to give up.  But I let myself switch to carmel lattes.  See, boundary issues…

As an adult coming to a Christian faith tradition that does the Lent “thing”, I get it.  I understand that it’s not about denying yourself just because it’s something a church says you have to do.  It’s about heightening your awareness, your senses.  Getting out of your normal cadence to a different pace.   Being present to something larger outside of you and something miraculous inside of you. Focusing on an immense hope and an overwhelming love.

This year, I started late.  Nearly two weeks late. Typical…  But I gave up a biggie – for me.  I gave up my primary mode of social interaction. Yes, I gave up Facebook.

Oh, the humanity!

No funny “Oh Myyyyy” posts from George Takei.  No clever “wine is wonderful” cartoons from Kay.  No “hiking in Arizona” pictures from Sandy.  No “Obamacare kills baby birds and causes locust plagues” posts from my Tea Party relatives.  Well – okay – I don’t really miss those…  No cute animal videos.  I guess I could go to YouTube and watch some there but, seriously, it’s not that bad…yet.

When I decided to give up Facebook, I went cold turkey.  Got rid of the FB tab from my Mac favorites bar and deleted the icon off of my smartphone.  Poof goodbye.  I haven’t signed on since.

And I’m lonely.

I’ve moved around a lot in the past 10 years.  And when you move as an empty-nester, 50+ something adult, it’s harder to connect with new people in a new city.  As a younger adult with kids, it’s easier to “fit in” – kids seem to be a natural way to connect with other folks.  As an older adult, sans kids, it’s much harder to build relationships when people already have their circle of friends and social habits well established.  Plus I can be a bit introverted around new people.  I know, hard to believe right?

So Facebook has been my best buddy these last few years.  It’s so easy now to stay in touch with far away friends and family.  Extra bonus – it’s helped me reconnect with people I had “lost” over the years.  Treasured friendships that slipped away because of the stupid neglect of youth or a “no longer at this address” written on an envelope.  Double extra bonus – I’ve also nurtured new, long distance friendships that would have never happened BF (before Facebook.)  We’re a very happy couple, Facebook and I.

So my late Lenten sacrifice this year is uncomfortable.  This is good. Whenever I have that urge to “just take a peek” at some of those Arizona hiking pictures, I remember why I said I wouldn’t.  It makes me think about my family and friends, and how much they mean to me; how much I love them.  And I think about the Great Love that holds the whole world in an embrace of goodness, mercy and healing.  I can wait a few more days until the 20th.

But remember how I said I have boundary issues?

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