Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy 236th Birthday!!

Two hundred and thirty-sixy years ago, on Nov. 10, 1775, at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Capt. Samuel Nichols, the first commandant of the Marine Corps, began recruiting the first two battalions of Continental Marines.

For those of us who've claimed the title of United States Marine, it's a special day. A day we reach out to our brothers and sisters we've served with, remember the years we spent together, how we were young once and say a little prayer for today's Marines - in whatever clime and place they may be.

One special tradition on the Marine Corps Birthday is the reading of General John A. Lejeune's 1921 birthday message. Even after 90 years it - especially the last paragraph - says exactly what it means to be a Marine.
Today is particularly special for me because not only was I a Marine, but so were both of my brothers. So, if you will excuse me, I've got a couple of phone calls to make.

Semper Fidelis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So, it's been a while...

I was a little taken aback when I looked at the date of the last post. It's been more than a month and half since I last posted and, well, I feel a bit bad about that. But not so bad that I'm going to beg forgiveness.

There are still many things I want to write about - elections anyone? - and just like a fine writer in my neighborhood, I'm just going to have to make the time.

How's this for a topic: Social media has made us less social. I say this not in the way everyone thinks - that Facebook and Twitter and such allow people to cut themselves off from actual human interaction - but in that it forces us to restrain ourselves and our opinions.

I succumbed to Facebook's Siren song a little more than a month ago, probably right about the time I should have been updating The Foggy Dew. I've reached out and reconnected with people I haven't seen or heard from in years and, truthfully, I got some friend requests I had to think long and hard about. What is the social media definition of a "friend"? Does this person sending me a "friend" request really count as a friend anymore? Why hasn't that person responded to my "friend" request? Oh, God, Why!

Except for a very small number of people I work with - who I actually count as real-world friends - I haven't sent, and received only one (from my boss, which I ignored) "friend" request from co-workers.Strangely, I do have two "friends" I've never actually met, but with whom I've corresponded electronically over the past year or so (both of you read this, so you know who you are). I find this almost old fashion. Long ago people would correspond with people they didn't know through these things called "letters" which they sent through the "mail." I'm speaking of people like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They had correspondence with a wide array of people, shared their thoughts, ideas and dreams, and built a network of friends that spanned the Atlantic.

The hard one's to decide about are the college and high school friends. Except for the two guys I count as my best friends, I've not accepted any of the three friend requests from people I knew in high school. If I'd wanted to stay in touch, I'da done it before now. College friends? Do I need to be Facebook friends with the girl who broke my heart, but who I (now) have nothing but fond memories about? (FYI, I did.) Also, my how some of them have changed.

The world of social media is a minefield my friends. A single misstep can have lasting consequences. I've seen it, you've seen it. A misconstrued comment or status update can cause drama that continues long after the real-world friendship gasps its last.

[On a completely unrelated note, I just realized the clock in my office was still on Daylight Savings Time and lunch is still an hour a way. Doh!]

To avoid those kinds of situations, I've adopted the "Primum non nocere" Facebook doctrine. First, do no harm. I will do my best to avoid mean snark (as opposed to the funny kind), ridicule and passive aggression in any status update or comment. The effort involved in being nasty is just not worth the calories burned. But, also, because I know that many of my posts are only important to me and someone, somewhere is annoyed to see them pop up in their feed. Yeah, sorry 'bout that.

Finally, for those of you who like irony, did you see the videos I posted on Facebook last night? If not, here's a link to my Flickr page where they're posted. My first attempts at time-lapse photography. Sorry for the jerkiness. They'll get better.