Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Facebook and I

Facebook is and will likely always be an enigma to me; however, I willingly admit that this is a weakness of my own and not a criticism of the extraordinary social media program or the keen people who use it. I just struggle with it.
by Charlie Leck

I was a bachelor the other night, thinking about what to do for dinner. Since I was alone, I wasn’t keen on cooking from scratch. I went looking in the freezer and found a small sized Hormel turkey dinner (a turkey breast and gravy). I put some rice in our rice-cooker and poured myself a glass of white wine.

When the rice was nearly ready and the Twins game moving into the third inning, I popped the Hormel turkey packet into the microwave just as the package told me to and I reread the instructions to make sure I was doing it right. At the end of the instructions was a message from the Hormel Company: “ENJOY YOUR MEAL AND LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!”

Really? I don’t think so! It was an acceptable frozen dinner. I added some chicken boillion to make it a bit tastier and moister – and I put some jellied cranberry sauce on the plate as a side. The rice was terrific (a real Basmati brown rice from India that I purchased at the Taste of India story out on Central Avenue in Minneapolis). I was not, however, about to go on Facebook to tell a bunch of my “friends” that “I like Hormel’s frozen turkey dinner!” They already think I’m weird enough. I should, however, tell them how much I like Taste of India.

If I’m going to like something on Facebook it’s going to be something really worthwhile. For instance, I’m rereading right now the wonderful classic by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. My! What remarkable writing! What perfectly wonderful dialogue. I’m still not going to announce it on Facebook, but I would if I were a regular on the social-interplay site.

Indeed, I’m irregular!
I check into Facebook about one a week and scroll down the long list of postings left there by my friends. I try to skim quickly, looking for something or someone stimulating – something that will make me sit back, smiling, in my chair and perhaps whisper “no shit” softly enough that the dog doesn’t actually hear me. Some people post that kind of stuff regularly and almost all of my friends do so occasionally. My criticism is that if you are really going to tag something that you like, make sure it is really something good and impressive. Don’t do it just as a favor to some manufacturer or seller.

I rarely find something that a Facebook friend has liked that appeals to me. That is not a criticism of them but, rather, a note about my own narrow and simple interests (I guess).

For instance, if I was going to tell my Facebook friends about something I really liked it would be a rave or two a of public television show I watched the other night – a thing called Extreme Minnesota. What a remarkable account of the weather and storm extremes we know in this state – from floods and blizzards and wild fires and tornadoes. A number of weather gurus put the documentary together and I was absolutely blown away by the remarkable stories of the blizzards of 1888 and 1940 – and of a number of staggering floods (like the 1897 and 1997 Red River floods) – and of the great Hinkley fire and several terrible tornadoes (including the one in ’65 that I managed to get through out there in Fridley, Minnesota).

Hot dang! I really enjoyed that Extreme Minnesota documentary and I am going to get a copy of it on DVD (or whatever we now call those discs from which we play movies on our TVs, you know, cause I keep wanting to call them VHS). I’ve got a Blue Ray player now but I’m not too sure how to use it. I just keep pushing lots of buttons on the controller until it somehow starts up.

Hi Berman, the incredible and astonishingly brilliant Minnesota historian, from the University of Minnesota, was on the show to make commentary during some of the intermissions. What remarkable color he added. Weather guys, Mark Seeley and Paul Douglas, were also on hand to comment about the variety of weather and weather danger Minnesota can display.

If you get an opportunity, this video documentary (Extreme Minnesota) is really worth watching. I’ve ordered it (in return for a contribution to Twin Cities Public Television) and I’d be happy to lend it out to anyone who wants to watch it.

I won’t mention it on Facebook, however. I get embarrassed when I do something like that.


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