From Pine View Farm

Personal Musings category archive

Twits Own Twitter 0

Katharine Trendacosta, writing at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, takes a look at Elon Musk’s stewardship sewership of Twitter. A snippet:

Twitter’s good qualities—features and practices that many users all over the world came to rely on—are all but gone now.

Follow the link for her reasoning.


As I may have mentioned, about the time of Twitter’s creation, I heard an interview with one of its founders on my local NPR station (WHYY in Philly at the time–I forget who was the interviewer and who was being interviewed); the person who was being interviewed droned on and on about how this new thing was going to contribute to the discourse.

The interview convinced me to have nothing whatsoever to do with Twitter, and I’ve never regretted that. But I have also watched as Twitter became a go-to outlet for many of moment. I have watched as (far too) many persons came to rely on it for news, information, and commentary. And I will concede that, before Musk at least, Twitter as an organization did not seem to have an agenda other than to grow itself; it bumbled and it fumbled, but it usually tried–with mixed results–to get it right.

(In a larger context, I have become convinced that “social” media isn’t. It amplifies asinine and drowns out dutiful, magnifies mendacity and disrespects data, as its secret algorithms suck users down labyrinthine rabbit holes of hate and hostility so as to “attract eyeballs” amd “foster engagement.”)

Still, it’s a shame to watch Musk mangle something that had risen at least to the level of mediocre.


Stray Question 0

Does the Republican Party remember–or care–that one of the words in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag which they claim to revere is “indivisible”?

Inquiring minds want to know.


The next few weeks may serve to answer that question.


The Way-Back Machinationist 0

Anthony Dixon argues that

DeSantis has chosen education as a tool to set this country back 100 years.

His reasoning is spot on (follow the link for details), but methinks his math is off.

A more accurate figure is 164 years.

Precisely 164 years.


The Crypto Conundrum 0

If it’s not real in the first place, can you be penalized for stealing it?


Stray Thought 0

It occurs to me that the fatal flow in Tesla’s self-driving car fantasy is that the developers–and Elon Musk–think that life is a video game.


The Buck Stops 0

Many years ago, back when I lived in Delaware and worked in Philadelphia, we purchased a Yorkie puppy from an Amish farmer in Lancaster County, Pa. (I know the farmer was not running a puppy mill, as the puppy was roaming free in his yard, as was the puppy’s mother, who came over to wish him good-bye before we loaded him into the car and drove off.)

The puppy grew up to be a good and valued member of the family and a constant source of love and joy. As our other dog at the time was a Black Lab, Tucker the Yorkie eventually convinced himself that he also was a Black Lab, but that is a whole bunch of other stories. Like the time we had a foot and a half of snow and Beau the Black Lab jumped into it and frolicked about. Tucker the Yorkie jumped in after him and disappeared.

Which reminds me that Beau the Black Lab used to play with Mittens the Cat. Mittens would be lying in her favorite chair at the kitchen table; Beau would come up and stick his nose up so she could slap at it. As long as she kept slapping at it, he kept waving it about. He was a kind and good-hearted dog . . . but I digress.

Anyway, what prompted me to remember Tucker the Yorkie was this:

The check we wrote to pay for Tucker the Yorkie did not bounce, unlike the check that George Santos wrote when he bought dogs from an Amish farmer.


I pity those dogs.


Still Rising Again after All These Years 0

As read and listen to and hear pious words honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on this day dedicated to his memory, I find myself remembering that many powerful figures are working diligently to undo everything that he worked for and toward; and that, empowered by the permission granted them by Donald Trump, they are more brazen about it than they have dared be for decades.

America’s original sin of chattel slaver continues to haunt.


A Sticker Story 0

After we voted in the special election on Tuesday, we went out for breakfast.

Now, I normally refuse the “I Voted” sticker that poll workers hand out (I believe that the folks who don’t vote should wear the stickers–big red ones on their foreheads, but that’s another matter). This time, though, I accepted it.

As we were waiting for our breakfast, a stranger came over and asked, “You voted?” (I reckon because of that little sticker.)

I said we had. Then he said, “I want to vote. Did you have to go down to city hall?” (That’s where the early voting takes place in my city and it’s way on the other side of town.)

I answered, “No. It’s an election day. Your regular polling place should be open.”

He thanked me and left.

I hope he voted the right way, but I’m glad he cared enough to vote.


Still Rising Again after All These Years 0

Methinks Steve M. has a point when he says:

Republicans aren’t in disarray. They agree on the agenda. They’re doing what they promised to do during the 2022 campaign, when they thought they’d win a big majority in the House. There’s no GOP dissent now, and there was none in the fall when these things — endless investigations and budget brinkmanship intended to slash the social safety net — were brought up.

(His complete article is at the link.)


We look forward to two years of a House of Representatives ruled by persons (at least profess to) believe that Fox News speaks truth.

I am not sanguine.


“What It Was, Was Football”* 0

In aftermath of Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on the field (happily he seems to be recovering), Randall Balmer wonders what Americans find so enticing about so dangerous a sport. A snippet:

Violence accounts for much of the appeal of the game, then and now, and the history of American football suggests that fans and players are willing to tolerate injuries for the continuation of the game. “It’s the violence of the sport,” Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman observed. “The violence of the sport attracts us to the game.”

Which brings us back to the question about whether there is something about American society that draws us – myself included, by the way – to the carnage of football.


I used to be a football fan. I looked forward to watching all the bowl games on New Year’s Day and a number that were not on New Year’s Day; I rooted for several NFL teams over the years. Now, though, I’ve lost all interest in football. The games have gotten far too long, the NFL owners are a mostly a bunch of jerks, and the NCAA is only in it for the money. (Indeed, the only sporting organization of which I have a lower opinion than of the NCAA is FIFA.)

My weekends are much more peaceful, relaxing, and productive now.


*With apologies to Andy Griffith.


Stray Thought 0

I near as I can tell, the most significant (and harmful) effect of “social” media has been to turn us into a society of exhibitionists, all jumping up and down screaming, “Look at me!


Momento Mori 0

For some fool reason (as my mother used to say), I find myself these past few weeks missing my old internet friend Shaun Mullen, maybe because it was three years ago this month that he passed.

We emailed regularly, but we met only once, a meeting I will always remember, dining together in Newark, Delaware, as I was on my way to visit one of my kids in Philadelphia and he happened to be in Newark for some reason of his own.

I am a better person for having known him.


Stray Thought 0

I must admit that it’s a bit disconcerting to read the report of a famous person’s passing after a full life and realize the person named is younger than you.


Stray Question, Misnomer Dept. 0

How the heck did Herschel Walker pass the entrance exam to get into “Brainy Quote”?


Stray Thought 0

Batman villains are real.

They bankroll right-wing think tanks.


Vaccine Nation 0

An anti-VAXX twit tweets his or her* way into a bit of mess with his employer.


I really don’t get these fools who claim vaccines don’t work. I can’t decide whether they are willfully blind or just plain stupid. Or maybe just plain willfully stupid.

They deny four centuries of history because what happened conflicts with what they want to believe.


*Based on the description of the tweets, I’d give two to one on “his.”


Stray Question 0

Who would have thought that, if you conspire to overthrow the government, you could be found guilty in court of conspiring to overthrow the government?


Some Musings 0

I’ve been amused and I’ve been bemused.

I’ve certainly been demused. Most of the news these days is demusing.

I’ve even been emused by ejokes.

Why can’t I be cmused?

I’ll have to muse on that.


Stray Thought 0

It’s the persons who don’t vote who should sport stickers.


Devolution 0

I like to listen to Old Time Radio (OTR for short).

“Old Time” is really not an accurate label, as it actually refers to a very short period in the 1940s and 1950s, when radio shows were syndicated on vinyl “syndication” disks or, later, on tape and, fortunately, were not copyrighted, as they were considered ephemeral (a few shows from the 1930s survive–a very few). (Maybe I’m showing my age, but when I hear “old time,” I think “centuries ago.”)

Fortunately, there are folks who have worked to make OTR available to us today. You can see my favorite OTR sites over there —-> on the sidebar.

Right now, I’m listening to a dramatization of Penrod by Booth Tarkington, a novel that I read several times when I was a young ‘un, back in the olden days, from the NBC University of the Air at The Old Time Radio Theatre.

And it led me to realize that there was a time when commercial AM radio actually contributed positively to the discourse, a time when it was not merely a vehicle for right-wing haters and 24-hour sports talkers.