Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: Musings (Page 2 of 41)

Monday Morning Thoughts

Coffeeeeeeee . . . .

Yep, it’s going to be one of those days. At least I have the short story figured out and ready to push through to final edits. I also figured out how to get from Point A to Point D on the next book in the series. Of course, that has to come after I finish Nocturnal Rebellion and send it off to my beta readers.

In the meantime, as I was reading the paper this morning, inspiration hit. There was a story about a 90+ year-old woman on her final cross-country driving trip. The story itself was engaging and reminded me of my cousin Clarice. — full of life and wanting to live it to the fullest until she drew her last breath.

But it was a picture of this feisty little lady that caught my eye and sent Myrtle the Must into overdrive. She was sitting at a table on what looked like an outdoor patio for a shop or cafe. Her head was thrown back and she was laughing. There was a twinkle in her eye with more than a hint of devilment in it. You knew she had just managed to zing someone and loved it.

Making the picture even better was the youngish man sitting across from her laughing with her. Despite the probably 60 or more years difference in their ages, they had connected and were probably getting into trouble together. It’s an image you don’t see every day and it made an impression.

And this woman, Miss Norma, suddenly sprang fully formed in my mind as part of the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe. Whether it will be part of the fantasy side or the “normal” side, I don’t know. All I know for sure, is Miss Norma will be the inspiration for a character in the series. Well, to be honest, the character will be a mix of Miss Norma and Cousin Clarice, and probably my grandmother who was born either 100 years too early or 100 years too late.

Now to go make some notes, enough to satisfy Myrtle so she doesn’t decide I need to write that story right NOW! Then it’s off to finish the short story and move on to the next project.

Until later. Have a great Monday!

TGIF

The title says it all.

Not that I’m taking the weekend off. There’s remodeling of the bathroom to do and writing — lots of writing — and somewhere along the line, I’d like to sleep. But it’s Friday and that has to count for something. Right?

So, let’s get a little housekeeping out of the way before I forget it. Battle Wounds, the next short story in the Honor and Duty series, will be published a week from Tuesday. If I remember correctly, that will be the 16th. Since it’s a short story, I’m not putting it up for pre-order. But I will make an announcement when it is uploaded and then when it goes live. So keep checking here and on Facebook.

Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s a link to a short snippet from Battle Wounds.

What else?

Oh, another book recommendation (and I will have more tomorrow). If you are a fan of space opera, you need to check out Sarah A. Hoyt’s latest entry into her Darkship series, Darkship Revenge. This is one of my favorites in the series.

After winning the civil war in Eden, Athena returns to her calling, collecting powerpods with her husband Kit. Now weeks away from Earth, she goes into labor. To make matters worse, a strange ship attacks Athena and Kit’s Cathouse and kidnaps Athena’s husband. That ship is called Je Reviens. It’s a named steeped in history—and not the good kind of history.

Hot on Kit’s trail, Athena discovers that you shouldn’t name a ship Je Reviens unless you intend it to return. The genetically modified Mules are back, and they have a plan to prevent themselves from being exiled ever again. And if the Mules win, the best thing humanity can hope for is slavery.

The worst is death.

While a bio-engineered plague wreaks havoc on the forces of liberty, Athena must risk herself, her husband, and her child for the survival of humanity.

The Mules may be about to find out what revenge truly is: one angry mother.

 

 

It’s almost the weekend

Before I do anything else, as a sf/f writer, I guess I ought to say “May the Fourth be with you.” If you are a Star Wars fan, TBS is running the first two trilogies back to back today. Episode 2, Attack of the Clones, has just started. So, if you haven’t seen the movies for a while and if you like Episodes 2 and 3, get yourself over to TBS now. Me, I’ll be waiting until the original trilogy.

While I’m on it, OMG, what was Lucas thinking with the scene where Padme arrives on Coruscant at the beginning of the movie. Just as one of her guards turns to the other “guard” to say he guessed he was wrong to think anything bad would happen, everything goes BOOM! The supposed guard, her features oh-so-conveniently hidden by a helmet, jumps up and runs in the direction of the now bombed out ship. Does she draw a weapon? Nope. Does she look around to make sure there wasn’t a second wave attack about to happen. Nope. Does she do anything before the attack or after to make anyone with an ounce of sense think she is actually a guard, oh hell no.

And that is just one example of what’s wrong with Episodes 1 – 3. Bad dialog, worse acting from leads and more and, as far as I’m concerned, Lucas took the fun out of the franchise. Okay, I’ll admit, watching Yoda fight was fun but more in a funny ha-ha way than in a “oh, wow, that’s cool!” sort of way. For all its problems, for all the fact it was much too derivative of Episode 4, A New Hope, The Force Awakens was more fun for me than any of the so-called prequel films.

Moving on. . . .

The airlines just can’t seem to help shooting themselves in the foot. Between American Airlines announcing it was cutting leg room two inches in some rows on their new jets to Delta seemingly tripping over what customer service means, they both made it to the news yesterday.

For those of you who don’t think losing two inches is much, I’d like to remind you the 26 inches they are now aiming for, iirc, is measured from the seat back, not from where your butt hits the seat. So you are measuring the ENTIRE seat cushion as part of your leg room. Thing about that. For anyone over 5’5″, I’m betting the loss of those two inches is going to matter a great deal. I know the last time I flew, my knees almost touched the back of the seat in front of me. The thought of losing those 2 inches and then the person in front of me reclining their seat — nope, nope, nope.

Then we have the Delta situation. A family was flying home from Hawaii with a one-year-old and a two-year-old. An older son had cut short his trip and returned home earlier. The two-year-old was in the seat that had been purchased for the older son. So, yes, the family had bought and paid for the seat but the ticketed passenger was not present.

Their tickets, including the son’s, were scanned and the family was allowed to board. Afterwards, a flight attendant supposedly approached them and said they needed to give up the seat because the flight was overbooks. The father did not agree to do so, at least not initially. Things apparently escalated and the flight attendant told the father he had the option of getting off or he and his wife would be arrested for violating federal law and the kids placed in foster care.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that would piss me off to no end. When asked what they were supposed to do if they go off the plane because there were no other flights out that day, the flight attendant told him it wasn’t her problem. He’d have to figure it out on his own. Riiiiight. That’s the way to win over customers.

Instead of being arrested and having their kids put into foster care — any parent’s nightmare — the family disembarked. The next day they returned home, after supposedly paying $2,000 to do so. Delta has announced they will be reaching out to the family to find out what happened.

Remember, this happened only days after airline officials were on Capitol Hill assuring Congress they were going to work harder on customer service. Riiiiight.

Finally, we saw social media in its finest, and I use that term with my tongue firmly planted in cheek, last night. Word hit that Buckingham Palace had called everyone in for a special meeting. The call was placed around 0300 hrs, London time. No word was released as to why the meeting was called. But that didn’t stop folks from speculating. I saw everything from it meant Prince Philip had dies to the Queen to Prince Charles was finally going to step aside for Prince William to who knows what else. Hell, it wouldn’t have surprised me any to see someone speculating that the Palace was announcing that Princess Diana really was haunting the Royal Family.

So what was the announcement? That Prince Philip was officially retiring. The man deserves it. He is, iirc, 94 and has been in poor health. Nothing earth shattering and nothing that shouldn’t have been anticipated. But my oh my, those who just knew what the announcement was couldn’t wait for confirmation. They had to be out there showing just how much they didn’t know.

I guess I should end with the note that I have a guest post up over at According to Hoyt. If you have a chance, wander over there and leave a comment.

Later!

 

Working Weekend

Sorry for the lateness of today’s post. Between staying up late last night writing and getting up this morning and doing some more redesigning of the site, actually writing a blog slipped my mind. So, what to blog about?

I guess we’ll start with this site. You’ll be seeing more changes over the next few days. I’m going to combine the blog site (this) with several other sites I have so there is only one actual site to log into and keep up to date. Back when the pen names weren’t open, it was necessary. But now, not so much. So URLs will need to be redirected, some more redesign of this site will be done and, hopefully, by Monday or Tuesday, everything will be in place.

You’ll notice I’ve added cover images of most of my titles in the sidebar to the right. there are a couple of short stories that haven’t been added as well as one series. Eventually, the series will go up but only after I get new covers for them. Hopefully that will happen in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, the books are broken up by author and series. Yes, I know there needs to be some tweaking on alignment but, like Faceplant, WordPress often works to make what should be simple functions more than a tad difficult.

On the writing front, I commented the other day that I was having problems with Battle Wounds. The opening just didn’t feel right. I worked on it, massaged it, tweaked it and finally tossed the opening. I tried a couple of different things that I thought might work and nope, nada. Until last night. It suddenly fell into place and it works.

Of course, that sort of major revision means there will be some tweaking to the story arc. I don’t think it will delay me too much but it does mean the story isn’t coming out this weekend like I planned. The goal now is to have it go live on Amazon on Tuesday the 9th. Although I may delay it to the 16th.

This Tuesday will probably be a reading day. Why? Because the next book in one of the few series I still religiously follow comes out. It’s been too long since we’ve had a new Jane Yellowrock novel and I’m looking forward to this one. Faith Hunter doesn’t write sparkling vampires — thankfully. Her fantastical characters fit into the New Orleans setting and I have yet to be disappointed in her books. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, click on the image to the left. BTW, this is one of the very few non-Baen books I will buy as an e-book and pay release date prices. Of course, the fact that price is $7.99 as opposed to the $12.99 or high I all too often see is part of the reason why.

Now I’m heading back to work. I have a short story to finish and I really, really like how it is coming along.

Honor is Everything

Last night, our local ABC affiliate did a piece on the evening news about a case of Stolen Valor. The piece started out with a Marine making a very simple but obviously heartfelt statement. “Honor is everything to a Marine.” That’s what makes this case so hard to stomach. Brandon Blackstone, a Marine himself (and I use that term loosely) was sentenced to 21 months in less than a week ago on several charges stemming from forgetting what honor means.

This story really starts with Casey Owens. This brave young Texan served in Iraq in, if I remember correctly, 2004. While out on patrol one day, his Humvee hit an anti-tank mine. Owens lost both legs and suffered traumatic brain injuries, among other injuries. Owens survived and returned home. He received a Purple Heart for what happened. Unfortunately, after a decade filled with pain and surgeries and the continuing effects of his brain injury, he took his life in 2014. Casey Owens was a Marine, a hero and he served with honor.

The other key player in this story is Brandon Blackstone. Like Owens, Blackstone is a Texan. He was also a Marine and, while I know there is no such thing as an ex-Marine, I think the Corps might make an exception for Blackstone. You see, even though Blackstone went to Iraq around the same time as Owens, he did not suffer the trauma Owens or so many others did. Approximately a month after arriving there, he suffered appendicitis. He never returned to Iraq from what I can tell.

For whatever reason, Blackstone forgot what honor means to a Marine. Instead of doing what he could in the Corps or to honor his fallen comrades, he stole Owens’ story. After returning home, Blackstone embarked on a journey of fraud and misrepresentation. He told any and all who would listen about how he had been in a Humvee struck by an anti-tank mine. He traveled around the country as a motivational speaker based on this lie.

Worse, he managed to con I don’t know how many people and charities with his tale of woe. He received monies, in the thousands it’s estimated, as well as a free house because of his deceit. I have no doubt he’d still be out there conning folks if he hadn’t been caught.

According to the Dallas Morning News, in his guilty plea, Blackstone admitted to lying about receiving a Purple Heart (which got him a mortgage free home from a charity set up to assist wounded warriors. He also managed to draw disability checks for something like nine years based on his stolen valor tale. The latter entailed him forging statements from two Marines who were supposed to have witnessed his injury.

This man, and I use that term loosely, has to serve 21 months in prison and pay the VA $322,654 in restitution for the disability payments he received over the years. Even though he could have been sentenced to more than 20 years, federal sentencing guidelines mandated he serve nor more than this pittance of time. He got credit for taking responsibility for what he’d done. He will also receive credit for time he’s already spent in jail so, at most, he will serve 18 months.

That is not enough, in my mind, not nearly enough.  He has done nothing to shine honor on the Marine Corps. He had dishonored the memory of every man and woman who served this country and sacrificed their lives for the rest of us. Part of me hopes he finds himself sharing a cell with another Marine, one who might have fallen from the side of the righteous but who still remembers what it means to be a Marine.

As the mother of an active duty member of the military, as someone who comes from a family where serving in the military is something we honor and respect, Blackstone gets nothing but my contempt. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Casey Owens. He sacrificed everything for this country. Other Marines I know and respect, Marines who may no longer be on active duty but who will always remember what it means to be a Marine and who will always honor the Corps, all it stands for and, most of all, their brother Marines, deserve so much more than knowing someone like Blackstone once wore the uniform they still hold dear. As for Blackstone, he deserves nothing but contempt and he sure as hell deserves more than 21 months in prison.

Sharing

The other day, I saw a story about a mother who told her child he didn’t have to share his toys with the other kids at the playground. I’ll admit, my first inclination was a knee-jerk one of “who does she think she is?”. Then I read the story and, not surprising, the headline had miscued what actual facts were. Color me not surprised.

The basic set up was that a mother took her young son to the park. Almost as soon as they arrived, a group of kids descended upon the child, wanting him to share his toys with them. That’s not so unusual. What the headline failed to note was that these were not kids he knew. They were strangers. So, when the little boy, obviously distressed at having to give up his toys to people he didn’t know, looked to his mother for guidance, she told him he didn’t have to share unless he wanted to.

There’s the key and what so many of those who are now criticizing the mother seem to overlook. She gave the child permission to wait until he was comfortable sharing with kids he didn’t know.

There’s something else I wondered that so many of the mother’s critics seem to have overlooked. Where were the parents of those kids wanting the little boy’s toys? Why weren’t they there making sure their children introduced themselves and perhaps offered the little boy their own toys to play with in exchange for playing with his?

But no. The criticism has all fallen on the mother who told her son he didn’t have to share with strangers if he didn’t feel comfortable doing so at that time.

I really hadn’t planned on blogging about this because it is so stupid, imo. The mother was well within her rights to tell her son he didn’t have to share with children he — and by implication she — didn’t know. But national media picked the story up and you would think this woman is the worst mother ever. This morning, on Good Morning America, they were going on and on about how wrong she had been in how she handled the situation (at least it seemed that way. I’ll admit, I do my best to tune the show out when my mother has it on)

Here’s the thing, if you are sitting in the park, enjoying a sandwich or cold drink and a stranger walks up and asks for what you are eating or drinking, would you give it to him? I’m not talking about someone who is obviously in distress and needs a helping hand. I’m talking someone much like you. They just happen to like what you have and want it.

Do you have any obligation to “share” your things with them?

Let’s take it a step further.

Say you have taken your drone out to the park. Are you going to let someone you don’t know play with it? What happens if they crash it or, worse in some ways, just leave with it?

How about your dog?

See where I’m going with this?

What this mother did was simple. She made her son feel less pressured to do something he wasn’t comfortable doing. I bet if we followed the story — something the media isn’t doing because there are more “exciting” things going on now — we would find that the kids are making friends with one another in subsequent visits to the park. They are sharing their toys and having fun. That’s what kids do — as long as adults don’t get involved. Which, unfortunately, is what happened here. Not with the mother initially saying her son didn’t have to share if he didn’t want to but with other parents condemning what she did and with the media picking up on it and attacking her.

As parents, our first duty is to make sure our kids are safe and cared for. That includes their mental and emotional well-being. This mother knew her son wasn’t comfortable and she did her best to diffuse the situation. Is it how any of us would have handled it? I don’t know. None of us do because we weren’t there and we didn’t see the look in that little boy’s eyes. We can guess and we can pontificate but we don’t know.

So, kudos to the mother for doing what she thought was best for her son. I hope that when they return to the park, the kids are allowed to get to know one another without the Big Brothers and Sisters of whatever getting involved.

For more, including the mother’s response to the dirty looks she got at the time, check this post.

When the writer brain is tired

Over the weekend, I spent some time painting part of the inside of the house as well as doing other “chores”. Very little writing was done because, to be honest, the writer brain was tired. I’d spent the week before doing prep work for the next several projects, as well as updating my promotions plan and more. So, because I didn’t have the brain power to read or write, I watched movies. To be specific, I watched some really bad movies. The lesson learned was I really do need to pay attention when my friends tell me a movie is so bad you don’t even want to watch it when it’s free on TV.

The first was a short, perhaps part of a series. I’m not sure and not interested enough to find out. The premise wasn’t unique by a long shot. The world is coming to an end soon and it is up to one martial artist to prove himself worthy and to save us all. We’ve seen it a million times. The difference this time was that the martial artist was an African-American government agent of some sort. The plot itself wasn’t bad but the fight scenes were so poorly choreographed as to be laughable. Anyone knowing anything about fighting, much less martial arts, would be able to spot the problems with what they were doing. Because of the way these sequences were filmed, the tension of the fights, the excitement that comes with a well-done fight scene was lacking. If the short had been anything longer than half an hour, I would not have kept watching.

The second was the first of several movies I watched — or tried to watch. It was the new version of Ghostbusters. Now, I loved the original. It was fun and didn’t take itself seriously. This new one, nope. I didn’t think it possible to make a movie with effects worse now than they were 30 years ago but you can. And they did. The writing was anything but inspired and it was not funny. Sure, I may have smiled, slightly, in a couple of places but it was nothing close to the original.

There were some talented actors (male and female) in the movie and that is what makes it such a crime. I blame Hollyweird for not being creative. It is easier to take something that was a hit years ago and remake it or rebrand it ot whatever. The problem is, that rarely works. We’ve decades of examples the bean counters should have looked at but didn’t. All they saw was that the original worked so surely this would.

Nope and nope and nope. The best thing about the movie was knowing it was over and I had the option of deleting it from my DVR. Which I did.

The biggest disappointment was another movie I’d heard was a disappointment but I had to see for myself.

Independence Day: Resurgence had the potential of being awesome. The original, despite screwing the science up so badly, was a fun flick that I have watched more than once. Part of that was the “we can and will prevail or die trying” attitude of the main characters. Part was the relationship between some of the characters. Then there was the comic relief of Randy Quaid. There was enough fun in the movie as well as explosions and evil aliens, etc.

This new installment. Nope and nope and nope again. If I had paid to see it in the theater, I’d have asked for my money back. The acting was, on the whole, second and third rate. The plot, which could have been great, was predictable and, there’s not way around it, If they explained what happened to some of the characters from the earlier movie, I missed it. (I think I dozed during part of the film. Either that or my mind shut down out of self-protection,)

It comes down to this, if you are going to do a sequel to a much-loved movie — and it doesn’t matter how cheesy the movie is — you need to do the original justice. You can’t simply slowly stroll through the plot and hope folks will stay with you just because they expect aliens and explosions at some point. For example, the original ID4 opened with that great sequence of something passing by the moon. You saw the footprints on the surface and the flag and then it was darkened as something very big and ominous passed by. That immediately signaled something big was about to happen and it might not be a good thing. In the newest installment, you don’t have that. There is no hook, nothing to keep you — or at least me — interested.

So, in a way, I guess the weekend viewing was a lesson for me to remember as a writer. Hook the reader right out of the gate. On that happy note, it is time to get to work. Later!

Busy, busy, busy and more

This week has been, in a word, busy. Hence the silence on the blog. One thing I’ve learned over the last several years is that when the fiction flows, the non-fiction (blog) takes a backseat. For that, I apologize, sort of. But I now have several short stories/novellas  (Battle Wounds, and two in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe) rough drafted but I also have basic plot notes for several more novels. Add in the current works-in-progress and I know what I’m going to be doing for the next year or so  and that all assumes Myrtle the Evil Muse doesn’t hijack me with something along the way.

I’ll be honest, another reason I’ve stayed away from the blog is the fact that I did not want to go ballistic over some of the things I’ve seen in the headlines. Between Bill O’Reilly and some of the accusations against him to the Antifa protesters at Berkeley and just Berkeley itself, not to mention a local city council candidate, I sometimes wonder who in the hell we managed to claw our way out of the sea, much less the caves.

When you have (allegedly) college professors donning hoods or masks and attacking unarmed people just because they don’t agree with you, you have to wonder what those profs are teaching our children. When you have a university that prides itself on backing freedom of speech finding what seem like spurious reasons to prevent conservatives from speaking on campus, you have to wonder if they interpret the First Amendment the same way you and I do. When you have the media and public forgetting that we are assumed innocent until proven guilty, you have to wonder how far we are from the lynch mobs.

But the cake goes to the candidate who, allegedly, said that people who don’t feel they can afford to pay the taxes in our town should move to one of the neighboring towns. On the surface, the statement doesn’t appear too bad. However, the cities named might have lower tax rates than we do but, if you look at property valuations there, someone moving from here to there, even if they moved into comparable homes, would wind up paying more. While I understand the point the candidate attempted to make, the lack of knowledge of what is going on in our surrounding communities is dumbfounding.

Then there is the candidate who wonders why the city isn’t handing out — for free, one assumes — special food so people can feed the ducks at the local pond. Let’s forget about the cost to the city to provide the food, find a way to dispense and to clean up after it is put everywhere in the park but in the ducks’ mouths, I can certainly think of other things our town needs more than free duck food. The fact is the city passed the no feeding ordinance based on recommendations and, iirc, regulations from the state’s Parks and Wildlife Department.  The city spent thousands of dollars updating and cleaning the “lake” where the ducks live, and one of the driving reasons for that was the health of the ducks. But, damn, to hear it from a very small part of our populace, you’d think the city council hated all animals and were all named Grinch because they could no longer go feed the ducks.

Yet this is their big concern. Not the fact we are landlocked with very little area to expand our tax base. They want our town to be more than a bedroom community but they cry because they can’t feed the ducks and want the city to pay more for it. Where the hell are the priorities? Worse, why is this sort of mindset — attention on the very small and irrelevant details — what seems to be driving so many today?

Okay, enough of this. Deep breath and remember that just because a few yell the loudest, it doesn’t mean the majority backs them. In fact, my guess is that the majority is busy keeping their heads down and trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. Like me, they would rather those running for office — and those reporting on them — looked outside their small bubbles and realized there were others out there besides their own echo chambers. If they had before the last election, they might have realized not only that none of the usual suspects, er candidates, were going to win the presidency but that a TV personality and millionaire would.

Now, I’m going to put my head back down and get back to trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head.

Business

This is going to be a short post today. Over the weekend, I had a long talk with myself and one of the things I need to do is take care of business. In this case, it means more than writing, although that’s a big part of it. I need to go back and check my sales trends for the last quarter, six months and year. If adjustments need to be made, I need to figure out what they are and start taking steps in the right direction. That might mean changing the price on some items and updating covers on others.

It also means looking at my marketing plan and bringing it up-to-date. For those of you who have been following me here and at Mad Genius Club, you know I hate promoting my own work. I know. I know. It’s silly. I’m a writer. That means I ought to be shouting from the rooftops when I have a new book coming out. It also means I should be reminding everyone about my books and short stories that are already out. Unfortunately, like so many writers, I’d rather keep my head down and just write.

Part of that is how I was raised. My folks would have smacked me up side the head, figuratively if not literally, if I started bragging about my accomplishments. Oh, it was okay for them to brag on me but not for me to do it. So, after that upbringing, it’s hard to break the habit. But, I have to remember that I’m not bragging on myself when I promote my books. They are my business and that promotion is advertising.

So, I need to look at what I’ve been doing and deciding what works, what doesn’t and what would if I was really doing it the way I should. That means adulting and being businesslike and that makes for a grumpy Amanda. 😉

In the meantime, I have a favor to ask. If you’ve read my books, please go to Amazon and leave a review. Believe it or not, reviews really do help with the promotion end of the business because Amazon has certain levels we have to reach on the number of reviews and how many stars before they start including the books on the “if you liked this, you might like that” sort of recommendations.

Now, I’m off to be businesslike today. Back tomorrow.

Head, meet desk

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two days, you’ve probably heard more about the United Airlines kerfluffle than you ever wanted to know. It’s a given that the incident in Chicago is a public perception nightmare for the airline. No one, at least none that I know of, thinks the airline handled the original situation or the pr nightmare that followed in anything close to the right way. However, that’s not what this post is about — at least not completely.

Yesterday, as well as the day before, I blogged about how we need to be careful about what we do and say on social media. Those posts were mainly about how authors and editors present themselves to the reading public and to potential clients. Today’s post, however, comes via a series of comments in response to a FB post made by a friend of mine.

Now the post itself wasn’t that much different from many others I’ve seen over the last 24 hours or so. My friend discussed what happened on the flight and then talked about how the media not only named the passenger involved but how some outlets were attempting to smear his name in what looked like an attempt to make United appear to be the wronged party instead of the other way around. At some point, Sarah — and others — made the comment that they felt United might have been behind leaking the passenger’s name to the press.

And that is where the idiocy from a third-party came in. You see, this person read an opinion as a statement of fact and got all hot and bothered, demanding sources for such an outrageous statement. It didn’t matter that the people making it said it was their opinion. They had said it and he wanted proof.

No matter what anyone said, no matter how they tried to approach the situation, he kept wanting sources cited.

Now remember, this is in response to a personal opinion on FB, not a story released by a major media outlet. It was an opinion based on personal experience, on the reading and listening to a number of different sources reporting on the incident and more.

What gets me about how this person dug in and refused to let go of the demand for a source to back up the personal opinion is how they continue to ignore the fact that opinions and decisions are made all the time based on information from a number of different sources and that is colored through the lens of personal opinion. It is rare when we can point to something and say “THIS!” is the reason why something happened and have that, whatever it is, be the only factor involved.

In this particular case, I can see how United very well might have been the source of the leak of the passenger’s name to the media. After all, they knew who they had “picked” to be removed from the plane because they needed four seats for crew members. They knew who they had told security to remove. They knew who had tried to reboard and who had to be removed again. In other words, it all begins with United.

Now, it is also possible the security team leaked the man’s identity. However, usually when the media gets a suspect’s name from law enforcement, they tell us something along the lines of “as identified by”. I have seen none of that so far. In fact, the media is excruciatingly silent on how they identified the passenger.

One of the possible explanations thrown out by the person taking umbrage to the opinion United might have been involved was that the passenger had been in the news before and someone local might have recognized him and called the media to make the ID. Again, where is the confirmation of this. Media outlets aren’t hesitant to let us know how they came to identify someone — unless their source doesn’t want to be named. Then it is “an unnamed source” in the report.

Considering how some of the media reports have been trying to pain the passenger as being a “bad” person based on past behavior — which has nothing to do with what happened — I doubt a member of the reading/viewing public made the ID. No, this smacks of someone either at United or with airport security telling the press who the passenger was and the press trying to pain the airline in the best possible light by digging up events from the doctor’s life that had nothing to do with what happened onboard that jet.

So here’s the thing. While the person was demanding everyone give sources for their OPINION United was behind leaking the passenger’s name, he had no problem bringing up other scenarios about how it could have happened — without offering proof. Worse, and what brought about this post, was his inability or whatever to actually discuss the issue. He dug his heels in and wouldn’t let go.

Now, I love me a good debate. I’ve even been known to dig my heels in a time or two. But I also know I have to listen to what the other side is saying and make sure I understand their position. If they ask a question, I need to be prepared to answer it — not ignore it and continue to hold to my position without wavering. Hell, I have to be ready to admit I might be wrong or I might have misunderstood the original premise.

That is especially true when dealing with social media. One of my biggest pet peeves about it — and with email, texting and the like — is that we don’t get the human interaction. We see only words, not inflection or facial expression. What we might mean one way can be easily interpreted another because the person reading our words don’t see us or hear us as we speak them. They are nothing but words on the screen and in social media we tend to take shortcuts that don’t help get the real message across.

There is another thing to consider. If most of the commenters in a thread are taking you to task for something, whether you are right or wrong, you have to ask yourself if it is worth your time to keep coming back to the thread and trying to justify what you said. It is so very easy to fall down the time pit that is social media as it is. Do any of us need to add to the time we spend there?

In other words, think before you hit enter. Make sure you understand what someone said and ask for clarification if you don’t. Don’t waste time if the person has shown themselves to be incapable of engaging in discussion. And, most of all, follow Jim Baen’s main rule for Baen’s Bar — Don’t be a butthead.

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