My New Year’s Resolution: Ruining It For Everybody

My New Year’s Resolution: Ruining It For Everybody

I have a disorder.  Hell, I have many disorders…I love junk food, I have a grammar fetish, I’m a control freak, and those are just a couple on the top of a long list.  The disorder I’m going to talk about today, though, is my inability to see hoaxes and falsehoods on social media and not point out that it’s false.

I know, I know, I could turn this particular disorder into a full time, unpaid position.  There is no shortage of bullsnot on the internet.  Nor is there a shortage of people who think it’s perfectly alright to spread malarkey far and wide.  I’ve been told that if I don’t like something, I should just move on.  I probably SHOULD.  That doesn’t mean I DO.  Or that I WILL.  You post something that ends up in my newsfeed, you give up the right to bitch at me for commenting.  Agreed?


So what’s wrong with posting things that aren’t true?  There’s no harm in warning someone that women are being drugged with perfume samples, right?  I mean, it COULD happen, so best to get that warning out there up front.  Better safe than sorry, right?  And, Facebook COULD start laying claim to all of your photos if you don’t post that privacy statement on your timeline.  Your family Christmas pic may end up in the background of some pornographic film somewhere.  What about those poor people (likely young children) that won’t get the surgery unless we LIKE and SHARE so that Coca-Cola will donate $1?  No harm, right?

Wrong.  There is lots of harm.

  1. Malware.  If the scam takes you to another site (“CLICK HERE to demand an end to putting kittens in blenders!) that could infect your computer
  2. Scam.  You could be urging people to sign up for, donate to, or support bogus causes.
  3. Spreading Falsehoods.  There are multiple “warnings” put out on software programs that are authored by….ready for this?….competitors.  You could be ruining a company’s reputation by spreading lies about their product.
  4. Creating danger.  You know the one about entering your PIN number backwards if you’re being robbed at the ATM?  Do you want to be responsible for someone thinking this is actually summoning the police?  All those scary stories about women being abducted with perfume?  You’re giving crazy people ideas.  You’re helping to create copycat criminals for crimes that weren’t even committed yet.

This is where I beg you to stop, and you ignore me.  So, just fair warning that I’ll be vocal (what’s the written form of vocal?) this year.  Sorry.  Somebody’s gotta do it.

Just for starters, here’s a list of hoaxes and scams for 2017 that you should maybe avoid participating in or spreading.  Happy New Year from me.

  1.  Bill Gates is not sending you money.  Sorry.billgates
  2.  No company is donating money towards someone’s medical procedures if you LIKE and SHARE their page.  They may enter you into a drawing for a gift card (legitimate), but not holding someone’s life hostage.
  3. Jesus, God, or any other deity you may encounter does not expect you to SHARE if you love them.
  4. No one is giving away 50 RVs because they can’t be sold.scam-facebook
  5. Celebrity deaths will be reported on credible news sites, and it won’t be with a caption of “David Hasselhoff falls to his death in New Zealand!”
  6. Facebook can do whatever it wants within the Terms and Conditions you agreed to when you signed up.  The good news?  They’re not charging you for using your account, and it won’t be deleted at midnight if you don’t follow the link.
  7. “While you were sleeping, Congress quietly passed a law”…. Stop it.  Do some research.  Oh, and no one is implanting you with an RFID chip when you sign up for Obamacare, either.
  8. Clowns are not murdering people.
  9. You cannot charge an iPod with an onion
  10. Hercules was indeed the largest dog on record, a stunning English Mastiff that weighed 282 lbs.  However, the photo depicting him walking next to a horse and being nearly the same size is a photoshopped image, and not even a good one.  Seriously, how much do horses weigh?huge-dog
  11. iPhones are not waterproof, nor are they programmed to detect water and automatically shut themselves off.
  12. There is no Derbyshire Fairy.  I know, I know, I wanted to believe too.
  13. Obama’s social security number does not belong to Jean Paul Ludwig.  And, he wasn’t born in Africa.  (Even Trump knows this now.)
  14. There have been no discoveries of “hairy spider monkeys” on Mars.
  15. KFC has never served a fried rat, and the woman who claimed there were live maggots in her fried chicken was extorting money.  Seriously, KFC has enough problems by just being….well, KFC.  Don’t make it worse.
  16. Dearborn, MI did not implement Sharia Law.  Neither did the place in Texas.  Or anywhere in the U.S.  Again, stop it with the fear mongering.

If you want to do your homework before forwarding on messages via email or social media, there are plenty of sites to check.  If it’s breaking news, try to verify with a credible media source.  As rare as they may be, there are still some out there.  NPR and BBC are still widely regarded as accurate.  If it’s something that may be a hoax, check it against some of these sites:  Hoax-Slayer,,, PolitiFact, Washington Post Fact Checker,,, and, of course, If you’re one of those that believe that Snopes is not trustworthy, or has a left-leaning liberal bias, please know that I disagree with that, but I won’t fault you for using a different site.

In conclusion, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and TRUTHFUL New Year!



But I Just Love You So Much!

But I Just Love You So Much!

I saw something on Facebook the other day, and it made me take a step back.  Not necessarily the ridiculousness of the pretty little photo quote, but the comments posted underneath it.



“I know that’s how it is with MY man!”

“Preach it, brother!”

“BAM!  This is me 100%”

“Straight up!  I love big, but I will $*(% shit up if I get pissed off!”

On and on and on.  Then, challenged by some brave soul who pointed out that you can have a big heart without being a hot head.  Then some of the Big Hearts showed their Tempers, and the whole thing got deleted.

Wait, what?  This is really a believable theory?


How about this:

Men with the BIGGEST HEARTS go out of their way for others

Men with the BIGGEST HEARTS treat others with kindness

Men with the BIGGEST HEARTS have self control

Men with the BIGGEST HEARTS realize that patience and tolerance are virtues

Men with the WORST TEMPERS show disregard for how their actions impact others

Men with the WORST TEMPERS should try to work on that aspect of their personality

Men with the WORST TEMPERS don’t set good examples for their sons, or boundaries for unacceptable behavior towards their daughters

Men with the WORST TEMPERS tend to be bullies

Men with the WORST TEMPERS use that as an excuse for unacceptable behavior, often abusive behavior

Abusive behavior.  That’s the button that this little photo quote pushed for me.  How classic for someone who is abusive to use the reasoning that if they just didn’t love you so much, they wouldn’t get so upset?  It makes me nauseated.

I’ve got a little secret for all of you “passionate” hot heads:  everyone has a temper.  Sure, some fuses are longer than others, but anger is a universal feeling.  The personal choices come about when we decide how, or if, to display or communicate anger. Grow up, and learn to control yourself.  You’re not “passionate”, you’re immature and self-indulgent.

Everyone else:  don’t let anyone ever tell you that a bad temper is some sort of side effect to a beautiful heart.  Your heart can be beautiful without that.  It’s a character flaw, nothing less.  Don’t be manipulated.


A Perfect Christmas

A Perfect Christmas

The title got you, didn’t it?  Everyone wants to find the secret to “A Perfect Christmas”.  Do you know that if you Google that particular phrase, you’ll get nearly 57 MILLION results?  We’re obsessed.  We all want to reach that pinnacle of holiday transcendence!

What does that even mean, and why are we so willing to sacrifice our finances, energy, mental and emotional health to achieve it?  Why are there so many Clark Griswold’s among us?


What if you could have a wonderful Christmas without going broke?  Without feeling like it’s never enough?  Without your year end calendar looking like the Dave Matthews Band tour schedule?  You can.  The best Christmases are made up of one thing, and one thing only:  Great memories.  Let’s talk about making those, shall we?

Like most people in my generation (dear God, if you ever want to feel old, just say – or type – “my generation”), we didn’t have extravagant Christmases when I was growing up.  Or extravagant anything.  Forget extravagant…I don’t think we even had standard-vagant.  But no matter….my Christmas memories are stunning and warm and wonderful.

We didn’t have much, but we had the important things.  We had the Firestone Christmas Collection albums that played Vic Damone, Julie Andrews, and the Vienna Boys Choir on the console stereo.  I would RUSH to turn the LPs over when one side finished, and my mother warned each time “don’t you scratch those records!”  We had visits from my grandparents, and an Advent wreath, and red tapered candles that were only lit at Christmas.  We had a real tree that made the house smell glorious all by itself, no pine sprays needed. (We didn’t worry about pine needles in the carpet then.  We had this nifty thing called a vacuum, and if that didn’t work, the kids crawled around on the floor and picked up every last one of them.)

Oh, and with real tinsel.  That had to be put on one strand at a time.  ONE strand at a time.  Or risk the wrath of my oldest sister.  Then the cat would eat the tinsel off the tree.  And you’d find tinsel in their poop.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever cleaned a litter box with tinsel-poop in it!


My grandmother would bake pies that were simply perfect, and my mother would completely ruin a potentially scrumptious turkey by baking it for 12 hours.  We used the real bone china, which was older than the hills and only removed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  The fancy cutlery also came out of its velvet lined box, and was painstakingly polished the week before.

There were Christmas specials on television, usually strung together on one or two nights, that meant staying up late and getting popcorn and Kool-Aid. There were parades, and festivals, and potlucks.  Our teachers spent weeks preparing for chorale programs that filled the gymnasium with assorted relatives and neighbors, and ended with each of us getting our own candy cane.

Midnight Mass was never missed, which meant my Mother’s mandate of an afternoon nap so I could stay awake at church.  A nap.  On Christmas Eve. When every child in the world is so excited they can feel their hair growing.  I’m sure I never dozed off, and I’m sure she knew I wouldn’t doze off, but it gave her some extra free time to get those last minute tasks done…or maybe just have a glass of wine in peace.

It. Was. Amazing.

But you know what I don’t remember?  What gifts I received.  With the exception of a stuffed snake that was bigger than I was from my sister the year I was almost 7, I only recall new handmade flannel gowns from my grandmother.  That’s it.

Then I had my own family, and for a short while, lost my mind trying to have THE BEST CHRISTMASES EVER!  I started the Toys R Us layaways around June or something equally ridiculous.  I fussed over the latest hors d’oeuvres featured in Good Housekeeping and Reader’s Digest.  I put up trees in the living room, the family room, the dining room…and table top trees in the kids’ rooms.  I coordinated outfits, and made my daughters wear crushed velvet dresses in August to take advantage of the Olan Mills’ pre-holiday sales.

I digress.  My revelation about what truly matters was hard earned, and for another post.  In a nutshell:  Got divorced, got really poor, and yada yada yada…learned that my kids didn’t care about all that stuff.  I call it “The Miracle of the Paper Chain”, and I promise to write about it soon.

Now, about having that wonderful Christmas.  Let’s apply the K.I.S.S. principal (Keep It Simple, Sweetie!):

Keep A Tradition (or Make a New One)

It doesn’t really matter what it is, but there is precious sentimentality in being able to say, “Every year, we…..”  Took photos at the giant tree in front of City Hall?  Had a movie/popcorn night on Christmas Eve?  Went caroling?  Made handmade cards?  Not everyone is cut out to read “T’was The Night Before Christmas” in front of a roaring fireplace.  Whether you want to carry on something significant from your past, or break the mold and go in a new direction, commit to a holiday tradition.

Create Something

Are you artistic?  I’m not.  At all.  No skills.  I can’t sew, I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t play an instrument.  I can cook a bit, but I’m not a natural and I have a limited repertoire.  OK, pretty much I’m the queen of chili and French silk pie….anything else is a crap shoot.  The bottom line is that the effort matters more than the result.  Whether you make a digital holiday card, whip up dozens of cookies, write an entertaining Christmas letter or poem, knit some mittens for your neighbor, or bedazzle your way to the 1st place award in the office Ugly Sweater Contest, use your creativity and share it with those around you.


Give of Yourself

Easy option:  write a check to a local charity.  I would never discourage anyone who has the means from supporting organizations that help others.  If you want to genuinely fill your heart, though, cash won’t do it.  Adopt a family for Christmas.  Volunteer at a local animal shelter, homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or food pantry.  Take a turn as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.  If you can play a piano, there are nursing homes everywhere that would welcome an hour of Christmas songs filling the halls.  Short on funds, but have energy to offer?  Clean a house for a neighbor, put up someone’s Christmas lights, offer to address Christmas cards for someone whose arthritis makes it hard for them to do, offer to babysit for a friend who needs some private time.  I promise you, there is an abundance of need for things you can do.   The “Season of Giving” was never meant to mean material things.


Eat, Play, Love

I will be the last person to advise you to throw caution to the wind on what you eat, because I know those who struggle with food choices (like myself) don’t need anyone telling them to just enjoy the holidays and eat whatever they want.  I will tell you, though, that you should not feel guilty if your coworker makes the best cookies ever and you have one.  The anxiety we create for ourselves by obsessing over what not to indulge in effects the scale more than that cookie does, I promise you.

Be silly.  Play the Pie in the Face game or Twister.  Yes, you’ll look ridiculous.  It’s OK.  Sing Karaoke.  Get out the Monopoly game.  When’s the last time you played a rousing game of War with a deck of cards?  Do you have snow where you are?  If you do, know that I’m jealous, and you practically owe it to me to either have a snowball fight or build a snowman or make snow ice cream. The critical thing is to put down your phone or tablet, and engage with people.

Love each other.  While most aren’t comfortable with an abundance of emotional gushing, the holiday season offers a free pass for getting gushy without being branded a weirdo.  Whether it’s the general vibe or the result of the eggnog, it’s ok to look someone in the eye and say “You mean the world to me”.  And unless you’re saying that to someone you’ve been secretly stalking for six months, it will mean the world to them to hear it.  So if you’re reminiscing about good times and someone’s name comes up that isn’t with you, pick up your phone and reach out.  Be genuine.

Oh, and my final thought:  If you want a happier life, don’t abandon these tips when January rolls around.  If you live your life with appreciation, generosity, and love, it will come back to you.