When we were staying up in Kotzebue, the Internet was slow, so I did a lot of reading, especially the day it was rainy and windy.  I like those days.  After years in the desert, I equal “beautiful sunny days” with drought. I read “Wheelmen,” how Lance Armstrong was able to cheat in the Tour de France and hoodwink millions, including me. I also helped students on, a math help site.  I find it relaxing; the students are mostly grateful.

When we got to Anchorage, with faster Internet, I posted some of pictures from my America the Beautiful Series on Facebook—the Western Caribou Herd migration seen from the air, Kobuk Vally NP, Serpentine Hot Springs, red raspberries picked from a vacant lot next to the hotel, and pictures of the brown bears salmon fishing at Katmai.  I commented on several posts…and quickly deleted my comments.


Western Caribou Migration north of the Arctic Circle. This line went on for 7-8 miles.


Kabuki Valley NP, Alaska.  This is reachable only by plane or boat.


Serpentine Hot Springs, Bering Land Bridge Preserve, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

I don’t often give advice to people, because few either want or follow it.  You will seldom hear me use  “should,” like “You should do xxxx,” because I think it arrogant and presupposes my values should be somebody else’s.  I am not advising anybody to do what I did here, only stating that I have found deleting a comment on Facebook—before or shortly after posting— is a good way not to have to eat my words later or get into an argument with somebody I don’t know….or do know.

The first comment I deleted was on a post that said “Take this test to see if you are racist.”  I think we are all racist.  Humans evolved that way.  We are tribal. Listen to the Kingston Trio’s Merry Minuet sometime, and you will understand that racism is not new.  I don’t have conversations about race, and I try not to treat people differently based upon race, dress or sexual orientation.  If they are trying to convert me to something, I’m generally not interested, although in the face of compelling evidence I may change my mind.  I might be more willing to listen if they gave me the same courtesy to offer my opinions.  They won’t, for they alone know the Truth.  I can’t remember what I deleted, but it was along the lines that given my 17 years of expected longevity I wasn’t going to change much, so please don’t tell me how racist I am. Delete.

The second came from a relative who posted  that the Earth was going to be destroyed at midday tomorrow, a time that has come and gone.  It was on some “truth” site, and if I were going to comment on every bit of bad science that found its way to Facebook, I wouldn’t have time to tell some kid how to solve a mixture problem or complete the square of a quadratic equation.  I started….then I just went to a new page.  FB is nice enough to give me a “Do you really want to leave this page?” to which I reply quietly “You betcha, delete that mother that I wrote.”  Problem solved.  No trolls to come after me, nobody to say I used the wrong word, and nobody telling me I was going to hell (I did but they kicked me out for bootlegging ice water becomes too trite after a while).

I have a few rules I use on FB.  I don’t de-friend people, only stop seeing their posts.  It’s easier that way, because they don’t know that I am not following them but I show up on their friend list.

I don’t share things that people ask me to share.  That’s their banner to carry, not mine.  I don’t read things for the most part that people tell me I must read. The “watch how xxx just slammed xxx in Congress” in general is not much of a slam; indeed, there are very few perfect squelches.  I can think of exactly four times where I have said exactly the right words at the right time, and it was devastatingly powerful.  Most “classic putdowns” are not worth reading.

Some have political or religious beliefs I don’t share.  It’s easier to delete all posts coming from Right Wing News or Oliver North.  It helps my heart stay out of dysrhythmias if I don’t read stuff I want to challenge and squash.  Few will read my post, and I will only annoy someone.

The third one I deleted was easy.  It was about how much money was being spent to build a replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky to spread the gospel that humans walked with dinosaurs (appalling in 2016 that some believe that.)  I commented the ark could be used for low-income housing, especially since the toilet and septic system were likely good, given all the bs.  It felt good for a few seconds.  Then I deleted it.  I had other more constructive things to do, like help kids with their math homework.  Interesting sidelight: I tend to answer questions where kids beg for aid, like “I am totally lost,” or “Please, I haven’t a clue how to do this,” and I can, easily and clearly.  That is doing the Lord’s work, although I don’t follow the Lord’s posts, because…well, I don’t.  I just try to be a decent guy.

The last post was how the Western world was at WAR (capitalized) with radical Islam, and that we didn’t have Facebook memes and blabs when we dealt with Natsis (Nazis—her spelling and grammar leave a lot to be desired, but I’d never dream of telling her that) weren’t going to be the solution. She’s right on one count—changing one’s profile, calling ourselves French…or Turkish…or whatever—doesn’t change anything.  I’m pessimistic. History is on my side. And I wish in the meantime we would stop using the word “solidarity,” for it lasts as long as it takes for the next tragedy to strike.

I posted that before we go to war, I’d like to know the endpoint when we will stop warring.  We didn’t have one for Afghanistan, and we may be there forever.  We screwed up. I had hoped after Vietnam in 1975 we had learned our lesson, but we didn’t.  I continued: if we go to war, I want a War Tax (50% marginal rates) and a draft of men and women.  Next war, everybody serves, and we pay as we go. That sort of personal and financial commitment gets people thinking whether it is worthwhile. I said in 2003 we would create a lot of terrorists by invading Iraq, so I am not surprised by what I am seeing now.

Why did I delete this post?  I like the person.  Her son will be draft age in 6 years. He’s going to fight the next war, not me.  She is going to worry, and she will learn in spades what going to fight the bad guys means.  She won’t remember my words.  She will likely blame My Side for it.

After I left Alaska, posts deleted, I have found myself spending less time on Facebook.  It’s too damned depressing.  And there is far too much life to be lived, far too much good to do, like math homework.  Or math help in person.  Or reading a book.  Or hiking.  Or showing a kid the night sky.  Or an adult for that matter.  Or seeing places in the world while I still am able to.

Don’t bother sharing. It’s just my way of living. Your results may vary.

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