On a Beach Walk: No. 39

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I see the vast water representing bloggers. Communities as WordPress and Blogger are two hosting communities – but not the only ones.

Bloggers are across the world – just another example of the world becoming smaller and more connected. I don’t know how many people from different countries have touched my little corner of the world – but I do know that I enjoy those who interact and return – especially those who have stuck with me for many years.

Each blogger writes for different reasons – marketing, personalizing, pontificating, advocating, educating, sharing, interacting, simply writing, and more. Poems, short stories, sports, politics, photography, travel, satire, music, events, hobbies, diaries, entertainment, fitness, wellness, cooking, religion, philosophy, humor, art, and more because blog pages allow readers to decide the topics they want to engage.

Each blogger wants something different. Some want interactions, others want friends, laughs, respect, community, a voice, and/or even just followers.

Bloggers are like the rest people in our life: they came and go – there are givers and the selfish – the jokers and the philosophers – the learners and the teachers – the encourages and the downers – the inspirational and the passive – the emotional and the practical – the extroverts and the introverts – and many more – even the users and abusers. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that (as a whole) bloggers have made the world a better place. After all, we are the everyday people helping the world go around.

This is the last walk of the season. It’s been fun – so thanks for walking along. This series started in 2017 with 15 posts – but 2018 increased to 24. Our plans are to return to the beach again in 2019, which serves as my writing time for this eclectic collection of personal thoughts. Hopefully my future includes more walks to share on my little corner of the world. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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On the Common Good

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Common good is at the center of any and all relationships involving two or more people. Although organizations embrace common good when developing a mission statement, putting it into action is easier said than done.

As a concept, common good may be easy to define as the benefit of society as a whole, but developing a meaning in today’s complex society would be difficult. After all, common good engages philosophy, morality, economics, culture, politics, religion, and more while having different meanings to different people and different groups. Even the Preamble to the US Constitution states, “… promote the general Welfare and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Is this statement same as common good?

Democracy depends on governance for the common good, but what that entails today may be a complex story in itself. Personally, I don’t have much confidence in elected officials being able to agree on a definition, let alone other aspects that would follow. However, common good is a concept that is so foundational, failure to agree is like trying to construct a building without a strong foundation.

To engage and implement common good, people must agree on the common facts. Even with agreement, disagreement on how to get to the common good is understandable – actually very likely because the different ways exist on achieving the common good. In the US, although Democrats and Republicans may agree on a common good, they may have fundamental differences on how to get there – and that’s fine.

However, declaring and accepting fake news fundamentally prevents agreement on the common facts – so doing for the common good would not only be highly improbable – but probably impossible.

If democracy is about the common good, then democracy must have reasonably well-informed citizens. Unfortunately, society includes those to whom truth is the enemy – the fools and liars who are misinformed and underinformed – let alone those who use a partisan lens to selectively filter the facts.

Life today is about information and fast access to it. The problem isn’t information’s availability or the mainstream media – not even the biased nature of well-known media personalities and outlets who feed red meat to their hungry flock.

A problem is the biased nature of a large slice of the public that selectively determines their preferred news source based on one that provides a message to hear – a message aligning with their predetermined view of the world.

A problem is when listeners determine immediate judgment on a legitimate news report because they have to protect their personal interests.

A problem is that given a fast and open information system, good journalism can give way to favoring expediency over accuracy.

A problem is that too many accept reports from obscure outlets as reliable because the story supports the preferred narrative the person desires.

A problem is that the truth is no longer a high priority.

All of these problems come together to prevent people from agreeing on the common facts – therefore no hope for acting for the common good. Perhaps that’s the greatest dangers to democracy.

On a Blog-Break Reflection

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The previous post announced the start of a blog break. That was April 5, and I was thinking 2-3 weeks … not 2-3 months. Although I did some visiting and wrote very little, my little corner of the world occupied my mind. After all, it’s been part of me since late August 2008.

I built my little corner of the world the old fashioned way – hard work. I responded to comments, and visited and commented on the blogs of those who visited me. Who knows how many blogs I visited without establishing a relationship. After all, this place was about honesty, respect, and kindness – not trash-talking brashness and without a even a small dose of shock and awe. I was simply being myself. Here is a snippet from my first post.

To readers I promise insight, yet will respect comments from others. I will be respectful to all as bashing is not my style, thus hope others are the same. Disagreement and criticism are fine, but it should be done with class. Other times I will simply provide information for readers to use.

I not only achieved that, I stayed true to the initial course!

During the break I thought about the many WordPress regulars that no longer post – people like Virginia, Guapo, Mags, Starla, and many others. Some have died, such as Third Stone, Larry, and Cynthia. Many others have cut-back – and I understand that perspective now more than ever. Some of us as Elyse, Debra, and Marina have a long history together. Were we all together during the Golden Era of Blogging? Maybe … but maybe not. After all, maybe our time has passed and a new generation is carrying the torch forward.

Some of us have been together a short time. Nonetheless, the power of the relationships built from blogging is one of the biggest surprises that I didn’t anticipate when I started … and that is what I cherish the most.

Conversations in 2008 with a good friend (Tim, who comments here) planted the seeds for this place. Did you know AFA started as a sports and politics blog? After several months, I knew I needed more. The “Categories” in the sidebar now displays a long list of topics. As I like to think – there is something here for everyone!

My topics grew as a response to my audience and my interests. Eventually I saw myself as a weekly magazine with Monday Morning Entertainment, Tuesday’s a specialized topic, Wednesday Satire Bits, on open topic on Thursday, Friday’s Opinion in the Shorts, and the Saturday Morning Cartoons series was absolutely one of my personal treasure …. and to think 6 blog musicals covering 62 acts found a way into that schedule. Whew … that was a lot of work … but I loved it … and I was also visiting many blogs during at the same time

Over time, the weekly magazine slowly changed as I stopped various sections for a variety of reasons. After all, I couldn’t keep up the pace I had established for myself.

OK – that was the past, but what about today? What does all this mean? Is A Frank Angle over?

Nope – it’s just a reflective post looking back at eight-plus years and over 1,900 posts with almost 73,000 comments from over 281,000 visits. I still have more to say and more to share – and as they always have, the friendships built here still touch me. On the other hand, I know I can’t rebuild this community as I did in the past because I realize that level of energy is missing.

I have my eye on one statistical goal because I like milestones: 2,000 posts, but my aim is without a timetable – without a regular posting schedule. It will simply happen when it happens.

As the opening image indicates, I’ve engaged the Play button. Yes, I’m slowing down – but I’m not done yet. There are more beach walks to take, more Opinions in the Shorts to share thoughts (but maybe not every Friday – maybe even a different day). Maybe a challenge or two are in the works, and who knows, possibly even another blog musical. Time will tell.

I close this reflective drivel with a musical video that I find to be amazing, amusing, and entertaining. Have a good week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Parallels of Life and Blogging

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Just like in life …

Bloggers come, bloggers go

Blogging interactions can be brief, without words, yet others are deep, interactive, and lasting

Boggers link around a commonality

Worry and wonder stoke the blogger’s mind when one hasn’t encountered someone in a while

 

Just like in life …

Bloggers encounter a wide range of emotions

Bloggers are saddened by the news of personal trauma, tragedy, and death – and happy for triumphs and celebrations

Bloggers seek trust, honesty, reliability, genuineness, and respect matter

An important decision for bloggers is the choice of acquaintances

 

Just like in life …

A blogger’s words can encourage and hurt

Bloggers can be real and honest while others are fake or hide their identity

Some blogging personalities seem to sync, yet what is preferred by one is looked upon as a negative by someone else

Some bloggers are givers, others are selfish

Blogging is a house that is open, thus requiring the host to be welcoming – but not every blogger has the same welcoming skills as others

 

Just like in life …

Blogging involves an etiquette, but one size doesn’t fit all

Bloggers have a variety of sensitivity levels

Bloggers vary in interests and communication skills

Blogging involves priorities – but sometime life and blogging conflict

 

The Final Touch

Bloggers blog for different reasons – to market … to think … to share … to make money … to interact … to promote thinking …. to learn … to reflect … to network …. to write … to challenge … to create new opportunities …to meet … to document … for personal growth … to inspire …. for enjoyment … to reduce stress … to build rapport … to create opportunities … and more

Every blogger want something different – some want laughs … other a friend … some want their voice to be heard … others simply want respect … some want community … others want followers … some write for themselves … others want interactions

Blogging is like a picnic – some brings the humor … others provide the photographs, art, and philosophy … others bring the recipes for food, drinks, guidance, and success … others are the informative thinkers … others tell stories

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On the aFa U.N.

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I have written the following words on these pages on more than one occasion – The majority of the world is good.

I believe it. Even though the daily news across the world challenges that thought, I still believe it.

Think of all the conflicts across the globe centering on race, gender, religion, and ethnicity … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Think of the areas with armed conflicts at the moment: Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Iraq, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mexico, Ukraine, Central African Republic, Yemen, Myanmar, Burundi, and more … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Think of the current challenges between groups as Sunnis and Shiites, Christians and non-Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Whites and Blacks, Males and Females, Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, the rich and the poor, and more … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Many, if not all, of the conflicts above center on power, greed, selfishness and getting people to conform to the ideals of others … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

My belief in humanity because of the interactions that I’ve encountered. I think of my dance friends from Vietnam, Lebanon, China, Guatemala, Romania, Ukraine, and the United States. They ground my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of my English Second Language (ESL) students that I help from China, Mexico, Guatemala, Syria, Senegal, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, France, Poland, Kuwait, Germany, Japan, Mauritania, Russia, and the United States. They strengthen my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of the many bloggers who have participated on these pages from Canada, UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Italy, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Norway, France, Lithuania, Ecuador, Pakistan, Ireland, United States, and others. They help fortify my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of the many nice people I’ve encountered in Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Portugal, Canada, Croatia, various Caribbean islands, and across the United States. They reinforce my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

It’s all these people demonstrate the goodness of humanity … and it’s these people who would make a wonderful United Nations.

On Touching the Core

Who are you? Who am I? Not only how do we identify ourselves, but also, what identifies each of us?

I’ve embedded many videos on this pages during my blogging time, but some stick with me. They touch my core. They define who I am.

The European immigrants of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century impacted the world. My paternal grandparents were in that group while my maternal family remained in Europe.

I believe the majority of the world is good. In a global environment when language can be a barrier, other things can link people – such as smiles, kindness, and respect. Blogging is has reinforced that to me, and so has Matt.

The ending of some movies cause a tear – yep, It’s a Wonderful Life does it, and so does this one.

Human behaviors are complex and quite wide-ranging. That given, there is a lot of bad in the world, but one cannot deny the power of I’m Sorry.

I believe universal creation is spectacular, and creation is ongoing. From our tiny perspective, the wonders of the universe are just for us. Whether Earth is home to the only life in the universe doesn’t matter to me, but nobody can deny this perspective.

Any favorites here? Are their videos that define you?

On the Blogging Community

“I came for writing, but stayed for friendships.” (A friend of Pauline’s: The Contented Crafter)

Although simple and real, many of us can relate to that quote. Seasoned blogger know the importance of community and the effect it has had on them. Yes – selfish bloggers exist – but for many, the interaction with a global audience is one factor that keeps them going.

The original post (On the Blogging Blues – April 27, 2015) focused on breaks, but the suggestions in the comments covered a wide range of blogging topics. This is Part 3 of the series that uses reader comments around a topic – this time it’s Community.

Thanks to everyone who contributed comments that led to this collection.

Topic: Community
Post for readers, not yourself.

Interacting with others beats counting stats.

I still struggle with the many posts that hit my reader every day – let alone replying to comments. Blogging simply takes an incredible amount of time and energy.

If quality and community are important, bloggers needs to reciprocate..

Blogging is posting, commenting, and visiting others.

The best thing about blogging is the friends you make.

The way one interacts elsewhere is an important trademark, thus causing others to want to visit.

Then again, blogging is like a collective that feeds upon one another … and I am fortunate to be in the midst of a wonderful community.

A person starts blogging because of the writing, and then they learn the power of the community.

The best blogging relationships as similar to the best in-person relationships – that is, they work both ways.

Not only reply to all comments, interact with your guests, and definitely write more than “Thanks for commenting” or “Thanks for visiting” – and then visit them. After all, don’t you want them return?

Humans are social creatures who enjoy meaningful social contact with others.

Everyone wants higher numbers, but community is more important than stats.

A blogging community is like a collective that feeds on each other – and resistance is futile.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging
Breaks and the Blues

Next Topic: Posting and Frequency

I’ve said it many times and also written it here – I truly believe in the good of the majority of humanity … and to me, bloggers have reinforced that believe. Here’s a jazz great to end this post in a fitting way.