Wednesday Wandering Mind – Social Media Reset, Twain, Former Fatties, more


Hey all! Happy Wednesday! I had a few things simmering that I wanted to put out there, and a New Year’s decision pushed me to put them out today. So let’s just jump around *** with it ..

1. Social Media Reset

Over the last couple of weeks I have spent time cleaning up my Twitter and Instagram feeds (no plans to mess with Facebook) as if with a machete. Some people weren’t following me back in spite of my follow and even exchanging comments, others I had no idea how/why I was following, and on Twitter I had to get rid of most of the super-chatty folks as well as people obviously marketing stuff. It has helped my accounts become more manageable, which is awesome.

But on Monday morning as I opened up my email after barely touching electronics all weekend (yay!), I read all of the pent-up blogs in my email as well as my WordPress reader. And my thought? Well THIS has to stop right now!

So I took a ‘scorched earth’ approach and simply started unsubscribing from the mailing lists of blogs and removing any that I did NOT get on email from my WordPress reader, and also killing anything I hadn’t opened in a week from my RSS feeds. Basically, if I didn’t follow your blog before I launched this one, I no longer get an email, if I didn’t get an email this past week I no longer follow you on WordPress, and only a very few blogs remained on RSS (basically those I can’t get through WordPress or email … like Blogger blogs).

So again, nothing personal … I needed to cut WAY back, and I also need to stop feeling like I have to comment on every post I read so you know I stopped by. If I ‘liked’ it, I actually DO … and if you don’t have a ‘Like’ button? Argh! As to how and when I will rebuild? Who knows.

2. Mark Twain’s Gravesite Vandalized

The image at the top is from the Mark Twain grave site, which is in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira NY, about a 10 minute drive from our house. Lisa and I did a fun graveyard tour just before Halloween this year, and the curator who did the tour took us through all of the details of many area families, especially the whole tale of the Mark Twain connection to the region.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge ‘know the backstory of the person behind the art’ person like seems to be so popular today, so I never dug into the Twain connection – just assumed it was a ‘George Washington Slept Here’ thing. But it was not. He was buried here for a reason.

But sadly at some point between Christmas and New Year someone removed the likeness from his gravestone. It is noted in the local paper, where they say:

“Somebody had to bring in a ladder,” Hare said. “There has been vandalism in the cemetery over the years, but there has never been any at the Twain site, which is a revered site. Desecration of any grave is a horrible thing for people to do.”

This is a pretty sad thing – awful for someone to have done in general, and also because as towns and cities are continuously squeezed to do more with less money, things like graveyard maintenance fall to the bottom of the priority list. And to have one of our country’s great authors grave site defaced like this is a shame.

The only good news is that there was a cast made of the original plaque which could be used to create a new one.

3. Tales of Former Fatties

Over at Buzzfeed a couple of weeks ago there was a video about ‘what it is like to be a former fat kid’.

As a former (recovering?) fat kid, I certainly can identify with many of the things the people list. But as we have discussed here before, we could change it around to say ‘what it is like to be an adult who was body shamed as a kid’ … because that crap hurts whatever reason it happened.

4. Feats of Dog Standing

So Sarah Palin posted a picture of her 6+ year old standing on their dog. It sparked some outrage, including from PETA. Palin replied … well, I just posted the whole thing below. But one thing she DID note was Ellen Degeneres posting a picture of a small child (2 or 3 years old) standing on a dog.

Her point? Hypocrisy, of course … and the assumption that her frothing supporters would be so quick to be outraged and butthurt that they wouldn’t even contemplate comparative analysis regarding the size/weight ratios of the children and animals (I mean, they DO watch Fox News, so facts are obvious not a priority).

Anyway, I don’t recall the Ellen pic, but we were very clear about the safety of children and animals in our house … so, no dog standing.

ANYWAY … forget the factual discussion, read Palin’s missive and just LAVISH in the crazy as it washes over you …

Dear PETA,
Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog.

Hey, by the way, remember your “Woman of the Year”, Ellen DeGeneres? Did you get all wee-wee’d up when she posted this sweet picture?… Hypocritical, much?

Did you go as crazy when your heroic Man-of-Your-Lifetime, Barack Obama, revealed he actually enjoyed eating dead dog meat?

Aren’t you the double-standard radicals always opposing Alaska’s Iditarod – the Last Great Race honoring dogs who are born to run in wide open spaces, while some of your pets “thrive” in a concrete jungle where they’re allowed outdoors to breathe and pee maybe once a day? (

Aren’t you the same herd that opposes our commercial fishing jobs, claiming I encourage slaying and consuming wild, organic healthy protein sources called “fish”? (I do.)
Aren’t you the same anti-beef screamers blogging hate from your comfy leather office chairs, wrapped in your fashionable leather belts above your kickin’ new leather pumps you bought because your celebrity idols (who sport fur and crocodile purses) grinned in a tabloid wearing the exact same Louboutins exiting sleek cowhide covered limo seats on their way to some liberal fundraiser shindig at some sushi bar that features poor dead smelly roe (that I used to strip from our Bristol Bay-caught fish, and in a Dillingham cannery I packed those castoff fish eggs for you while laughing with co-workers about the suckers paying absurdly high prices to party with the throw away parts of our wild seafood)? I believe you call those discarded funky eggs “caviar”.

Yeah, you’re real credible on this, PETA. A shame, because I’ll bet we agree on what I hope is the true meaning of your mission – respecting God’s creation and critters.

Our pets, including Trig’s best buddy Jill Hadassah, are loved, spoiled and cared for more than some people care for their fellow man whose politics may not mesh with nonsensical liberally failed ways or don’t fit your flighty standards.

Jill is a precious part of our world. So is Trig.

– Sarah Palin

5. Interesting Findings from 2014


Being a statistics dude and engineer means that I love having loads of data to gather and play with and am always looking for cool new ways to visualize that data. This week I came across a summary of a number of things from 2014 at the Pew Research site.

The image above compares median income of kids 25 – 32 (sorry, ‘adults’) who have a 4-year college degree with those with a 2-year degree or just a high school diploma – and the results show a greater disparity than ever. Recently there has been much discussion about the value of a college degree – but that is largely in the context of the staggering debt incurred by more and more college students.

As a parent sending one child off in a few months to what was ranked the #2 Most Expensive Undergraduate School, and another heading to college next year … this stuff really hits home for me.

Bonus. Warm Hands, Happy Runner

After a relatively mild pre-Christmas to post-New Year we have gone straight back to last years Polar Vortex it seems, with high winds and a display of the ‘many ways to get to sub-zero wind chills’. But of course I still go out for my runs – and the awesome news is that the Brooks 3-in-1 gloves my boys got me for Christmas are the absolute best things I have EVER (in nearly 26 years) worn on my hands. Each year I enter in fear of frost-bite, but now I can leave the house with confidence of returning with all appendages intact.

So … how are YOU? And how’s Winter treating you?

*** Yeah, Jump Around … like THIS:

27 thoughts on “Wednesday Wandering Mind – Social Media Reset, Twain, Former Fatties, more

  1. SO MUCH. I know the social media purge. I try to do that with my blog lovin feeds, and would love to do it with my twitter. I just want to be able to see what my friends have to say, right?
    Desecration of a grave…. kills me (pun not intended, ish). And I am doubly sad that it happened at Woodlawn, where I spent time documenting a mausoleum during grad school. I just don’t understand people.
    I did get a chuckle out of the first line of Palin’s response, though I wouldn’t stand on the dog.
    I am a tiny person now, but I will always be a former fat kid. I can’t stand talking down to yourself or others about weight, even in jest.
    Maybe my degree will finally no longer be worthless?

    • Ha – funny how much stuff flows through the Corning area, wouldn’t have ever guessed. This was our first trip to Woodlawn, but it really bothered us … I agree, what is with people?

      As for Palin, while I have very little regard for her, she has enough to deal with having a child with Down syndrome and quite honestly had she worded things in a rational way I could have been very sympathetic to her.

      And those gloves my kids got me … wow. 🙂

  2. We just got SMACKED with super cold temps. It’s supposed to be -17 tonight. Thank goodness for wood stoves and lots of blankets!

    I’ve been trying to clean up my Facebook, mostly because Facebook is dumb and keeps showing me stupid ads and comments that strangers post on my friends’ walls. I don’t need to see that! I’m also still “friends” with a lot of randos that I’ve met once at parties or people I went to high school with but haven’t talked to in 10 years and wasn’t actually even friends with in high school.

    • These are the days that separate the real runners from the completely insane morons. Real runners hit the treadmill and focus on getting a good workout. People like me go out and ‘build character’. Because we’re stupid. People call me ‘inspirational’. I have no idea why … would they call me inspirational if I hit myself in the face with a brick? No clue.

      Yeah, Facebook is totally annoying … I just try to avoid reading comment on the local news stories … they make YouTube commenters look cultured! haha

  3. I understand the need to purge. I’m doing janathon fir the first time this year and have developed a little group of fellow janathoners. It all started with a few nice comments but it’s turned into a full time job! So yes, on day 6 everyone is settling for ‘likes’ and short comments! There may be a weekend flurry of more considered communication! So no worries, do what pleases you and be true to yourself!! I completely get it!! However, Sarah palin. I don’t get her. She fascinates us Brits, like an exotic but deadly animal😊

  4. I started to clean up my instagram a bit last week but didn’t get too far. I rarely go on twitter (only when I have a notification, and I have other stuff automatically post there) so it doesn’t bother me too much. I do all my blog reading on bloglovin. I think it would drive me crazy if I constantly got emails about new blog posts. I do click “mark as read” alot on certain blogs and it makes me feel like I should probably stop following them. However, like it said having it all in one place makes it less of an issue I think.
    Winter is back this week! We have snow, wind, and single digit temps and now ice- yuck!!

    • Thanks Lisa – and exactly what you mention is why I am doing it that way. I am trying to thin it out so I can focus on efficiency – I want to read what my faves are writing about without distraction. I have generally ignored Twitter but would like to have it be more useful for me … who knows.

  5. Ok a few thoughts here…sorry you have my mind spinning. I saw that Sarah Palin thing yesterday and I looked at my husband and about died. She just doesn’t know when to stop or just plain get it. It is painful to watch. Sometimes I am glad I have my husband to keep me checked in place….stop and think before you do or say something Sarah (me). And the college degree thing is something I see so much from where I grew up. So many incredibly intelligent kids opted out of college to start jobs right out of high school. For so many the idea of making money right away seems so much wiser than ending up many, many thousands of dollars in debt for a long time. It really is a shame that our public schools don’t spend some time in high school discussing more of the benefits of a degree and options for funding (scholarships, grants, etc) and even some basic economics on perhaps what it will take when you get out of college to pay it off vs. your hourly wage over time. In my small town I also think it would be great if there was an emphasis on trades and trade schools for kids that college will never be an option. Maybe get yourself start on becoming a mechanic or nail technician. Show them some viable options for the future. I for one am so glad I was expected to go to college….regardless of what I have used my degree for 😉

    • Thanks Sarah … and I think all of us benefit from having a spouse-filter. 🙂

      I think the whole college-to-life thing has changed so much over the last 25 years since I graduated – back then it was pretty much assured that if you got a good degree from a good school you’d have a good job. And in engineering it was a reality – and in those days if you got into IBM it was a lifetime no-layoff guarantee! Now … not so much 😉

  6. I understand the social media purge and since I went through mine and took Twitter and Facebook off my phone that life is quieter. The blogs that I read have stabilized at around 60 (a combo of tech, running, friends and some other interests), which might sound like a lot, but it isn’t, since most do not write everyday.

    The cemetery vandalism is something I have never understood and have no patience for, I hope they catch the perpetrators.

    I wonder how many logical fallacies are used purposely or unconsciously in her letter., I know that I counted quite a few without even thinking about it. The less said about this individual, probably the better for us all, no matter what your party affiliation. 🙂

    • I think it is all about balance, right? You’ve written about purging apps off your phone as being a good thing before, I totally get that 🙂 And I think that the number of blogs is less important than the spread of writing – and I think what finally got to me was the large number of ‘must publish every day’ blogs. Again, if you HAVE something to say 7 days a week, great … but if not, then why post?

      Love that logical fallacy poster 🙂

  7. I love a good social media purge – I do it every couple of months, and I know it keeps me from having an epic number of followers… but that’s not why I blog, so I’m dealing with it quite well.

    One of the things I have started saying (and meaning) about being a former person who weighed more than I do now is “I’m the same person I was when I weighed 235 pounds. In losing weight, there has been a trade-off here in quality of life that I do not think people acknowledge because it is simply assumed that skinnier=better. Sure, I was less attractive according to social norms before, but I was still good at work and school and was a great friend. Now, I’ve given food power that has had a pervasive and sometimes negative effect on my life. Would I go back to being overweight voluntarily? No. But do I sometimes miss how I lived life without worrying about food? Absolutely.”

    I can’t change what happened and how it happened but I do have to deal with often disordered eating habits on a daily basis. I think it is critical that we start to acknowledge how damaging it is to all people of all sizes when we make blanket assumptions about people based on their size. This has become internalized so that all people, overweight, formerly overweight, and never overweight talk in the same way about people who are overweight. This leads to a value assumption that benefits no one, but hurts the self-worth of those who are and were overweight. I am not going to suggest that this is as damaging as racism or sexism, but there are certain similarities. And it is, inherently, negative.

    • Thank you so much for that comment, Laura! 🙂

      It is exactly why I started writing about ‘former fattie’, but also know it applies to anyone judged based solely on their body type / appearance.

      And I agree to the similarities to racism & sexism – and also the differing degrees. It certainly can make people the subject of discrimination, though it tends to be less extreme and pervasive and damaging than some of the other types of discrimination (but it DOES still suck)!

  8. I am not even going to touch the Palin thing. I was so “wtf” about all that!

    I didn’t know you could follow people on WP. And you can “like” a blog post on there? So confused?! I used to feel like I had to comment on everything I read, just to be nice, but now I just comment when I have something to say. And I just keep all my feeds in one spot (feedly), which makes them feel more manageable. Totally smart to cut back. I have deleted a lot, and am trying hard to stay off Facebook, in general. Too much blah on there.

    • Haha – glad to help with the WordPress stuff! 🙂

      I also use Feedly, but since I am an old fart tracking this stuff since before Google Reader I still refer to these things as ‘RSS aggregators’ – which at this point mostly boils down to Feedly. 🙂

      Facebook is interesting – and I understand increasingly why for younger kids it is what they call a ‘necessary evil – you HAVE to be there, but it isn’t a primary place to be.

  9. Now I’m kind of glad I haven’t felt like blogging since you were backlogged and cleaning house! I only have about 15 blogs that I follow and even that can be overwhelming if I don’t check for several days and everyone seems to post around then. I don’t do IG or Twitter, but I have a bunch on FB, but 100% people I know in real life, though admittedly, some are not people I know well — knew kind of in HS, ran with once or twice, spouses of a couple friends that I don’t really know. I think about purging sometimes, but it already seems like my news feed is very focused on only a small number of friends, so I never even see updates for the others anyway.
    Funny re: the Palin thing — when I was home for Xmas, my youngest niece made a point of telling me that she could only hug the neighbor’s dog now but could not ride him like a horse because she’s too big now — St. Bernard, she’s 5, not sure when her parents or the neighbors decided no more horse games, but prob smart! Thankfully, it seems to be a very good-natured dog. It sometimes blows my mind about Palin that she really could have been VP. Yikes!
    The degree thing is interesting. I wonder how it would break out if the top line were broken out into BA/BS or 4 yr degrees v. those who also did grad school, law, medicine, etc.

    • haha – I stalk you on RSS (Feedly) AND email … you’re not shaking me off that easily. Yours is a great example – you don’t blog every day, but instead only when you feel like it, and that quality always shines through. There are too many blogs that simply MUST have a Monday post for X link-up, a Wednesday post for Y link-up, and a Thursday post for Y link-up, and then toss in a wrap-up and perhaps another link-up or two and there are 6 posts published a week … but very seldom 6 that are worth reading.

      And I think there is a reasonable debate to be had about Palin and PETA and her son and the dog … but she went on a frothing rant instead … And while it is true that she COULD have been VP, that was a very long time ago and I think at this point to think of her more like a Kardashian or Jon & Kate … a reality show person who absolutely MUST stay in the limelight and keep that money flowing in no matter what.

  10. I did a similar social media exercise a few months ago and need to do another one, there just isn’t enough time to connect with everyone out there so I have to be really selective on who I spend my time with and build relationships with. It actually feels pretty liberating to do it too!

    I agree that it’s very sad about the grave site, I mean, who does things like that, it just boggles my mind and makes me sad.

    RE Sarah Palin, I am just not a fan of hers to begin with so I just have to laugh at the whole situation.

    My SIL and I were just talking about the earning potential and the delta between those with degrees and those without, I just forwarded her your link from the Pew. I truly believe that these days, a Bachelor’s is viewed like a HS diploma was when we were younger and now and in the future, advanced degrees are going to be more and more necessary. Just my $0.02 though!

    Stay warm my friend, I thought of you this morning when it was -13 as I was leaving my house…I ended up running indoors, I just couldn’t do it outside today!

    • I think it is so easy to let our social media stuff get out of control – we Like or Follow or whatever based on something small, or accept a friend request ‘just because’. Then it feels HARD to let go or prune back … which is silly.

      The education thing is really interesting, and I hadn’t thought of it, but recent reports about how in places like Germany college is basically free, and how in the early 70s most US schools were also close to free combine to make me wonder what we are doing here …

      Thanks for the warm thoughts 🙂 I place safety as a very high priority, but yesterday was reminded at how much more frequently I need to charge the batteries in my headlamp in sub-zero temps 🙂

  11. I did the clean up thing recently too…I felt so much better when I was done. Honestly, it is very mars to keep Up with blogs, so I 100% understand where you’re coming from!

    This sounds weird-but lately,
    Every time I think of how cold it is outside and I opt to hop on the mill–you flash through my mind!! I KNOW you would have gone running a lot of days that I opted to stay inside! I think I need those gloves! 😉

    • Thanks! I think if you thought of me and said ‘what an idiot, he’s probably out there!’ my wife would laugh about it and agree 🙂 haha

      And agree – it is hard purging lists, but really needs to be done. It isn’t personal, we just can’t sustain THAT many contacts/friends/follows/blogs whatever!

  12. You are smart with the social media cleanup. I need to figure this out for myself, or at least figure out how to organize my emails better because blogs have taken over my inbox and many of them I’m not actually reading.

    Agree that the right hand-ware for winter running changes everything. This is the first winter I’ve layered fleece mittens over gloves and I’ve actually been able to use my hands during the hour after a run which is nice! In the past I did a single glove layer and then tried to hide my hands in my sleeves. Mittens rock!

    • Thanks Michele – it is hard doing the clean-up, and it took me deciding that I had to be OK with missing one or more blog posts per week from even my favorite bloggers. In other words, I truly needed to be able to take a step back from reading. Otherwise it would just consume too much time.

      I laughed when I read that about your hands – I get paranoid about actually getting frost-bite because my hands get cold so easily and I have gone through the ‘reheat pain’ enough that I really try to avoid THAT. And I did the same thing as you – pull my single glove inside my sleeves and so on. These mitten-over-gloves are just the best … 🙂

  13. I don’t understand what’s fun about vandalism.

    I am very grateful Sarah Palin did not become our VP. Which reminds me that I’ve been wanting to watch that TV show VEEP.

    That college grad vs not graphic made me cringe given our current situation. My son is getting an education in the true cost of living as we try to find him an affordable apartment in a non-sketchy neighborhood. Here’s to hoping the shock will light a fire under him to go back for his degree.

    • Totally agree with everything you said … 🙂 And I hope things are going well for your son (and his parents as well! 😉 ). My brother took time away and it ended up being the best thing for him … hopefully it will do the same for your son.

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