Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogging .. the art of indecent exposure

I was totally amused while listening to Chris Matthews during today's The Chris Matthews Show, as he was reminiscing back to 2003 when Florida senator, Bob Graham, who then was running for the democratic presidential nomination, "was ridiculed for keeping excessively detailed notes cataloging his every move." That was how Chris put it, and I couldn't help but agree. This daily log, contained in countless notebooks which he has been keeping since 1977, seems to detail, every moment of each day since. This historic piece of news, which I would have otherwise never known, came out during Chris's comments about the website twitter, which he describes as a place, "where you can offer the world .... a running account to of your every moment on this planet." Claiming it has become irresistible to some politicians, who wouldn't ever get TV coverage, and in fact, ironically, even TV is covering some of the content! (Eventually, you can see all for it for yourself, once the March 1, 2009 episode is posted on-line.)

    ... I initially paraphrased and guessed the segment was from one of two shows on TV this morning, but before finishing this post, I decided I was being way too lazy, as I do "TiVo." So, at this very moment, I am enduring watching my best guess at which show it was, once again — just for the quotes — while hoping, of the two, it is from this one! (Boy, will I feel so stupid if it turns out to have been live TV, which automatically follows recordings.) YES! Life is good! I found the segment and it aired only 12 minutes in! And even though I must painstakingly back up repeatedly and pause – more than most might need to – just to get the quotes right, (exposing the pragmatic perfectionist in me), still I think: there is so much to be thankful in life... But I digress, as I often do, (an understatement, as the few who know me all too well would quickly agree.)

Of course, I was more than amused by the idea of how many notebooks Bob Graham has filled with "minute by minutes notes" as Chris put it. Chris showed us just one entry from September 17, 2002, reading:
    "6:50: Awake at 3rd St.TH
    6:50-7:00: Apply scalp medication
    7:00-7:40: Kitchen - brew coffee prepare and drink breakfast (soy, skim milk, OJ, peach banana, blueberries) Read Post Dress in gray suit"

out loud, replacing St. with "Street," TH with "town house," and Post with "Washington Post."

I loved seeing the piece of paper, a page in his handwriting. It was as priceless as it was useless, except for the amusement of those who had the good fortune of viewing it.

    Brought back fond memories ... of when I noticed how my generation had the tendency to tell way to much, way too often, way before necessary – in an over-response, I believe, to having lived childhood with way too little information. More than once I heard my children say it best, "TMI" (too much information), often covering their ears trying their best to not hear what I was saying.
    I am amused by the irony of how this same generation of children and those who follow are so readily posting "way too much information," from my point of view. They thrive on exposing and sharing their uncensored thoughts, feelings, gossip, and body parts on their my-space pages, blogs, utube videos, and other such sites that abound the internet. I digress again, so, getting back to Bob...

In response to the media, Bob spoke out, as a true believer in what he does, claiming it as valuable and important information for organizing his life. Moreover, he wondered why more politicians didn't do the same. Laughing out loud, I couldn't decide if this was an outcome of OCD or some other diagnostic acronym for odd behavior (for which I might apologize for my laughter, if he was not a politician — but then again I wasn't the one who outed him), or whether Bob suffered from an over-inflated ego, unlike any I have ever encountered. Seems "he was man ahead of his time," or so one Chris's guest pointed out. (Sorry, I'm not such perfectionist as to wind back to the beginning just to get her name.) For the curious – she was blond lady wearing a red dress or jacket and skirt — hard to tell which.

What really humored me was Chris's comparison of Bob's notes to those of other politician's seemingly less than pertinent comments relating to their personal lives. (I suppose he was "hinting" at the lack of any apparent relevancy to their political actions or thoughts, etc...) These, though, were clearly not of the same caliber as Bob's. Bob's notes had me imagining comments about so many possibilities he may have written, which perhaps ought to be kept private — or at least limit their exposure to close and trustworthy friends, as oppose to exposing them to the entire world.

Reminded me of complaints airline telephone operators made about hearing people pee as they booked their flights. And then I thought fondly of the comedian Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show as my mind wandered to a wide variety of humorously undesirable details of personal past moments I would not choose to relive, much less provide explicit details to the entire universe of internet for all eternity ... more or less.

    (Of course, I am not unwilling to gross out a friend on occasion. Though I find far more delight in having inappropriate discussions, candidly spoken, utilizing language that encompasses the content, leaving the details to the imagination.) And then, of course, I moved on to things which have never happened to me, but that someone surely has experienced .... and my thoughts went downhill from there.
    I'm not much of a follower of the internet, with the exception of my marine biologist's daughter delightful blog: Observations of a Nerd. She is pretty good and worth following  if you're into science and animals or cute nerdy stuff, especially those marine biologists delight in. Bear in mind, I am biased. She's my daughter and I love her dearly. I delight in her pursuit of her love of life and my opportunity to have a glimpse of it which her blog provides me. Again, I digress.

As I said, I don't explore a lot of information on the internet. I have never bothered to explore utube, and I know of it only through the cool video clips I see on the news or the Ellen show, which I admit to watching, or at least mostly watching, (I skip past the excessive clapping of her audience that seems to last forever, along with her dance segment, because though I dearly respect and love who she seems to be—genuine, kind, generous, lacking any meanness, and very funny—her taste in music is definitely not mine. While TV often tries to seduce me to visit their sites for prizes and such, I rarely do.

    Though I was absolutely ecstatic when my daughter told me that Survior episodes were on the net, after I moaned about I missing the very last night of the prior season — I liked who was left. I usually TiVo Survivor along with my other favorite TV shows, unless, of course, there is no electricity, as there was none that entire week, when I was one many thousands of Vermont and New Hampshire residents who lost power, due to that infamous ice storm, earlier this year. My heart goes out to those who have endured far worse, and for longer periods of time than I with far worse consequences than mine, (which were limited to no TV, lights, and flushing the toilet which took a creative use of water poured carefully into the bowl.) ... Oops! That is probably one of details someone else might regret blogging. I know — digressing again...

I am not embarrassed easily, certainly not to strangers whom I could care less about what opinion they form about me. (As long as they don't stand close to my face and scream it at me, a luxury famous people can't avoid, as TV news and tabloid photographers and interviewers stalk them to an extreme excess.)

But, for those of you who actually care about how people see you, consider showing some restraint. Especially, the younger you are, because who knows what you want to be or do some day, when what you post might come back to bite you in your butt.

And whether it ever actually matters, consider restraint in blogging or in video posting personal details to the world as a matter of being considerate to one's neighbors – like putting on your pants before stepping outside to pick up your newspaper.

It's hard enough to have any semblance of privacy today – not when cell phones seem to be catching and spreading all sorts of inappropriate behavior. Still, when you put own foot in your own mouth, what can I say except: "thank you for these moments of laughter you give me," or if not to me, who tends not to explore the net, then "thank you" on behalf of those who do.

Of course, today, a sincere thank you to senator Bob Graham for exposing his journals! I expect I will always crack a smile if I don't still LOL when I happen to recall this.

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