Do You Have an Online Plan?

A second person I knew online only from FriendFeed died recently. It made me think of this and the fact that I still haven’t told anyone my passwords in case anything happened to me.

I recently found out that someone I only knew online passed away.  We followed each other on Twitter, but did not communicate much there. We had both been active users of Friendfeed before Facebook bought and killed it. I didn’t really know him, but we he was one of the people on Friendfeed I could count on interacting with my posts. If not for a post on yet another social media site, I might have never known about his death. It’s possible that others I have known online have passed and I missed the news for various reasons.

This made me think – how would people know if something happened to me(I’m pretending here that random people online would care). Facebook friends would be easy. That is a more personal place for me and the majority of the people there are real life friends and family. I’m sure someone in my family would post something and tag me and then people who didn’t already know would know. I’m not really active anywhere else online except for posting here. I do wonder, though, if I should have something in place for the blog. Maybe I should give someone my password so they could post any news that I would be unable to post myself. I would hate to think that my blog would go quiet and no one would ever know why. Hopefully, this will not be something I need to worry about for years, but the death of my online connection put it in my mind.

So, my question for you – do you have someone who is tasked to post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc if something were to happen to you? If you blog, do you have a plan in place for someone to post if something were to happen to you? Do you prefer not to think about such things?

Ask Me Anything/Where to Find Me the Remix

Since I have a few new followers I will re-post this one. Mainly reposting for the links for where else to find me, but if people want to ask me stuff  I will do a post where I answer those questions. I’m pretty sure last time no one cared enough about anything to ask.

I am going to attempt to do another “ask me anything” post later this week if I get enough questions for a post. So, use the comments to ask me questions. Personal questions, hypotheticals, true/false – ask me and if it’s not too personal and embarrassing I will answer them in a post later this week. Of course, there is a good chance no one cares enough to ask any questions and I will have to resort to either making up my own questions to fill a post. So, ask away!

I will use the rest of the space today to let you know where else you can find me in case I don’t bore you enough here.



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Time to Put the Phone Down

I posted on Facebook yesterday that it might be time to delete the app from my devices to force a break. I wrote about that in this post in the past but never did it. It’s become too much of a habit for me. It is even more of  habit during isolation. I struggled to focus on a book. I watched a lot of TV and movies, but it’s easy to scroll mindlessly through Facebook and Twitter while watching a random TV show. I don’t post as much as I used to. I don’t interact as much as I used to. I scroll through more than I used to. There is not a lot of good there. It’s a bad habit that I need to break.

I have done a little better. I do crosswords on my iPad now during times when I would usually be on social media. I play Risk on there as well I’m reading a little more than I was the past couple of months. I still do sometimes scroll through aimlessly, though. Habit? FOMO? Who knows. Facebook is no longer pictures of people having fun or posts about the lives of my friends. It is mainly people arguing and posting political opinions. I still get some good content on Twitter, but it is a lot of the same there. I could fix Twitter easily by unfollowing the random strangers who annoy me these days. Facebook is harder since they are all friends and family. Deleting the app from my phone would be easier.

My phone, in general, has become a negative in life. There is the constant lure of social media. There is also the constant threat of a call from work that will ruin my day. And I can’t guarantee those calls will respect my personal time. I’ve had to tell people  I was turning my phone off on a Saturday to get them to stop texting me on my weekend off about things that were not emergencies. If I didn’t get texts from family who don’t live with me I would turn my phone off at 5 and leave it off until 9 the next morning. That’s not possible, so the dark cloud of work looms over me all the time.

My phone has become my enemy that I helped create.

This Space Purposely Left Blank

Well, not completely blank. Writing my mediocre blog posts helps me ease into my new daily routine. Some days it is easy. Some days it is not. I don’t want to write about the virus. I don’t want to write about lockdowns. I have nothing else happening right now. So, I will do a pledge drive and links to my social media.

First the pledge drive:

My son’s work has lost money due to not being able to hold programs and weddings. You can donate to their fundraiser here. He works for Audubon Naturalist Society.

You can Support the Common Tater here

Other places to find me

My personal Facebook which is pretty much public anyway – I have a page for Tater but it has become just a place where my blog posts go since they can’t go to a personal profile.

My twitter

The blog for my work where I may occasionally have posts




A Tater Hibernation

It’s been over a week since I posted about my trip to Kentucky.  I’ve thought about at least doing my weekly posts, My Week in Books, Movies and TV and What’s Good in Tater Town, but never got to the point of opening the laptop. I may be wrong, but I feel like I’m posting less on my personal Facebook page. I still look at social media a lot, but I’m not as engaged as I used to be. I don’t know if it is the stress or depression or the shorter days but I just feel the need to mostly hibernate and withdraw from the world.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m reading more. I read the new John Grisham book in one weekend. I finished Mobituaries by Mo Rocca. It was very good and allowed me to bore people with odd facts from the book. I’m caught up on more of my TV shows. I’ve watched a lot of football. All good things to help take my mind off of how bad my normal day has become.

I have left the house, My book club went to see a movie in Baltimore and then played Cards Against Humanity.  The movie was Parasite. It was very good. I highly recommend it. I would have won Cards Against Humanity but they kept changing the final score needed to win until someone finally passed me. I plan on filing a complaint with the league office. I will leave the house again for book club next month. I also hope to get someone to go to some sort of Christmas lights or market thing with me.

I am hibernating. I’m not staying away from the world completely. I’m just shrinking my circle and trying not to let social media idiots add to my stress. I will try to start posting more here. I just need to decide where I’m going with it so I don’t become the person who just posts about being stressed.

Random Thoughts on Random Things

Still struggling to write anything coherent. Some would say I’ve been struggling with that since I started this blog eleven years ago. Let’s see what random thoughts come out as I keep going today.

  • Andrew Luck retired this week. He was 29 years old and had suffered multiple injuries and decided it was time to quit the game of football. Fans are mad. Sports people, looking at you Gottlieb, have terrible takes. As I wrote in this post you’ve gotta do what’s best for you and your family and that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter how much money Luck makes or how close the season is, he did what was best for him and that is the right thing to do.
  • TMZ posted audio of a phone call that is allegedly DeMarcus Cousins telling the mother of his child that he will put a bullet in her head. Kentucky fans immediately started commenting on the posts making excuses for him. There is no excuse for doing this. I don’t care who you are, how much money you make, or where you played sports this is not OK and there is no excuse for it. Be better.
  • Be careful being someone who is where they are supposed to be and does what you are supposed to do. People like to take advantage of that and will use that as an excuse to not be there and not do things. Also, no one will appreciate what you do and eventually you will feel like you are killing yourself for nothing. Take care of yourself and take a day here and there when you need it. If the place falls apart while you are gone maybe people will finally realize how good you are(probably not).
  • Joe Walsh is challenging Trump in the primaries. Everyone, including democrats, jumped in immediately to talk about how he is just as bad as Trump. You might be right, but no one is asking you to vote for him if he beats Trump. We do need Republicans, regardless of who they are, to challenge him. He needs to spend time before the general election defending his actions. A challenged opponent can be a weakened opponent.
  • I’ve written a lot about bad drivers. I’ve noticed a new trend lately of people going to the opposite extreme from aggressive driving to very slow and hesitant driving. That isn’t any better. Can’t people just try driving in a way that is safe and normal?
  • According to Goodreads, I’m 9 books behind schedule on my challenge to read 100 books this year. Also according to Goodreads, I have a good shot of reading more pages this year even though I will read fewer books. I think Goodreads needs to add a “pages read” challenge along with a number of books challenge. I’ve read a lot of long books this year.
  • I’ve started creating social media posts for my work once a week. I’m enjoying it. I like it a lot more than other things I do for work. Maybe I will get good enough at it that they let me do it full time.

I guess I will stop there. I think I need to stop worrying about single topic posts and just save up some if these smaller thoughts(the kind I normally have) for posts like this.

Too Much Weather

I’m not talking about the rain. There has been too much rain lately with more on the way. I miss our dry hot summers. Maybe we can get a nice, cool, dry October. I doubt it. Anyway, I mean there are too many people out there giving weather forecasts. You have the TV weather guys, the newspaper weather guys, former TV weather guys with a website, amateur weather guys with Facebook pages, science teachers with a Facebook group, etc.  There’s too much weather out there.

Anyone with a computer and an interest in the weather can become a social media weather guy. I could start a page right now in less than five minutes and start posting my thoughts on the weather. It wouldn’t make me an expert. It would just make me a guy with a computer and time on his hands. I could probably still get a few people to follow me and, if I guessed right a few times, swear that I am the most reliable weather guy on Facebook.  Maybe I should experiment by posting weather guesses on my Tater page and see what happens.

There are multiple problems with the multiple weather guy issues. TV weather guys need viewers. Retired weather guys with a website and a business need clients and clicks. Random weather enthusiasts feel good about the number of people following their page. How do you get the attention? HYPE! Sensational posts and headlines highlighting the worst-case scenario. Push for the idea that the NWS snow totals are low and we could get a massive snowstorm instead. Pick the model that shows the hurricane will come closest to the area and cause the most damage. Who cares if you create unnecessary panic. You got some extra hits and some more money from ads and clients. You got some more people liking your weather page. More people are watching the news. This is what it’s all about, right? Not accuracy. Accuracy is for nerds.

There’s also the “I don’t really know what I’m doing” issue. These are the guys who are weather enthusiasts but don’t really know how to read the models properly This is who I would be if I started a page. I can look at a radar and a model forecast and make some guesses about what will happen, but it really is just a guess. If I guess right a few times, people will think I really am an expert. When I’m wrong I will just throw out some meteorological babble that sounds good and gives me a reason why I couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. I don’t think these guys are purposely trying to fool people. I think they like the weather and like trying to forecast it. The problem here is the people who use them as their main weather source. Why are you asking them about the forecast instead of going to more legitimate sources? Do you think the rest are fake news?

An example of the bad weather forecasts: Yesterday, the Washington Post weather people, the TV weather people and the one weather guy I trust on Facebook(Christopher Bressi) all said our area could expect 2-4 inches of rain from Florence based on the current models. Pretty good agreement there. It could change because models can be wrong, but for right now, that was the estimate from almost everyone. Soon after these forecasts were released, a guy with a Facebook group put out a post that the area would get 5-7 inches of rain. That’s 3 more inches than anyone else is projecting. That is a significant difference and there are people who will only read what he said and not the rest. Where did he get these numbers?

So, be careful who you are trusting when it comes to weather forecasts in the case of extreme weather.

Facebook: Keeping You Safe From Tater Since 2018

I know that being on Facebook isn’t cool anymore, but I’m still there(because I’m not cool) and get more interaction there than any other social media site. I share my blog posts on Facebook and routinely share articles and news I think my friends will enjoy. This week, I seem to have been caught up in Facebook’s crackdown on fake and spam accounts.

I am an Atlanta Braves fan living outside Baltimore. When the Orioles traded two players to Atlanta, making that now five former Orioles on my team, I shared the article I saw on Twitter to Facebook. An hour or so later I had a notification telling me that Facebook had removed the post because it looked like spam. I clicked the “this isn’t spam” thing, complained about it, and it was restored. It was a minor annoyance and means nothing in the general scheme of things. I complained(because that’s what I do) and I moved on with life. It is annoying, though, that the majority of my feed these days are people sharing quizzes, “what would you look like as the opposite sex” things, articles from dubious sites, etc and they somehow all make it through the screening process. I recently shared a Snopes article after multiple people shared a prayer request that has been floating around since 2010 and is not even an accurate account of the original incident. That seems OK to Facebook.  But an accurate article about a baseball trade” THIS SHALL NOT STAND! Ok, maybe I am still a little bitter.

Yesterday, I noticed a blog post didn’t share to Facebook and then I received an email from WordPress telling me that Facebook no longer allows WordPress to share posts to a personal profile. I can share it to a page(and now this will post to my Tater page) or I can share it manually to my profile. I just can’t have it share automatically to my personal profile unless I make it a page instead. So, it can still be there, I just have to use one extra step to get it there. I guess they think if I’m a Russian agent trying to topple our democracy that one extra step will thwart me.

“I have to post this article that will destroy America manually? That will take another 30 seconds. Damn you Facebook! America lives to see another day!”

On the plus side, Facebook seems determined to save my friends from my Tater posts. I’m sure they all slept better last night.

Where Else is Tater?

I had no words this morning and, thus, there is no real post. I’ve decided since I have a few new followers to do a nice simple post with links to places to find me(because who wouldn’t want more of me). These are also on the blog, but maybe I have designed it to make them hard to find…  So

Twitter – It is mostly links to my blog posts because I post mostly on Facebook where I get more interaction. I always plan to be better at Twitter, but it will never happen.

Facebook – This is my very neglected Facebook page. I really should have my blog posts feed there and post more, but I keep my personal Facebook  public and get more interaction there, so I have just neglected the page. One day, maybe, the page will rise from the ashes.

If you ever feel the odd need to support my blogging habit or buy me a cup of coffee, you can click here  to do so.

Thus endeth my boring post that is basically begging for follows and money.

Please Read Before You Comment

I really don’t understand why people comment on articles without actually reading the article first. Yesterday, an article about a South Carolina school system replacing snow days with assignments kids can do at home was shared in a Facebook group. The article specifically states that the assignments do not require the internet and that kids have five days to complete them(to account for power outages and tech issues). The person who shared the article posted it with a comment about how this wouldn’t work for kids with no internet at home(answered in the article). Many of the comments were also people saying it wouldn’t work where they live because so many kids don’t have a computer or internet at home(answered in the article). It was obvious that many people, perhaps including the person who shared it, had not read the article before commenting.

I’ve shared articles on Facebook and have had at least one case where someone actually said “I didn’t read the article, but..” You didn’t read the article? No? Then stop typing, read the article, and then comment. How do you think you have something to say about the article or what I said about it if you didn’t even read the article? Is it laziness? Stupidity? Belief that you are so smart that you don’t need to read the article without expressing an opinion? It’s not just these two cases. So many times the comments on posts are people asking questions that are answered in the text of the article. People are commenting and questioning based only on a headline. I know I should just not read the comments, but sometimes I have commented, so I get notifications that others have done so. Sometimes they are comments on my posts, so I see them.

Of course, reading the article doesn’t always help with comprehension. Sometime today Drew Magary will start posting his “Why Your Team Sucks” series. Each day he will write a humorous article making fun of an NFL team. Many of these poke fun at the city where the team plays. I love these and share them all on Facebook along with one quote(in quotations) usually the one making fun of the city. One year, I shared one about San Diego and a friend from high school’s wife read it while using her husband’s account. She took offense to the quote because she felt it insulted the Navy(her husband was in the Navy). She attacked me for “my” writing about the Navy and didn’t back down when multiple people tried to explain to her that I didn’t write it, hence the quotation marks,  and it wasn’t insulting the Navy. Her husband then chimed in and defended her and said that I shouldn’t post things negative about the Navy. We are no longer friends on Facebook. I’ve had other instances where I’ve shared them, friends have commented, and then friends of friends see it and get mad because I’m insulting their city. No one seems to see the humor. I also share the one for our local team and share the insulting quote about us. It’s all in fun, but no one seems to get that 1. I am not the author and 2, it’s humor and not meant to be taken seriously.

So, the point of this post(if it has one) is 1. Read the article if you plan to comment. 2. Read carefully and look for the answers to your questions before commenting 3. Look to see who the actual author is and 4. Try getting a sense of humor.