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DOES FACEBOOK EVER DONATE MONEY FOR EVERY ‘LIKE AND SHARE’ THAT A PICTURE GETS? 

Simply put, No. These posts pop up from time to time depicting a child for example picking at food scraps on the street or drinking out of a muddy puddle. 

SCAMSTERS create them knowing full well that they tug on people’s heart strings and they’ll be instantly shared. We’ve probably all had pictures of female amputees appearing on our timelines with the caption, ‘I bet no one will care enough to share this’. Or the old person who can’t quite believe the amount of likes n’ shares their picture gets. The cancer riddled kid sat on a hospital bed? You know the ones, we’ve all seen them. 

What are these posts about? They’re less about caring for the less well off, the unfortunate and the needy and more about SCAMMING YOU. 

The unscrupulous know how gullible some people can be. Advertisers use it to good effect when pitching a product to you. Facebook has a rankings system. The more shares a page gets the more likes it will get forcing it up their ranking system. Inviting you to comment on it with comments like ‘amen’ also helps it up the rankings too and let’s face it, people love to engage with a post that forces them to engage with their inner emotions when they see heartbreaking pictures. 

These Facebook pages are created by advertisers, clever business men and everyday scam artists. Countless likes creates VALUE. A valuable page gets sold off to the highest bidder and because you’ve liked and shared it they will have a captive audience, yes that’s right, YOU. Let’s not forget, liking a post can have the effect of making that post reappear on your timelines weeks later but when you see it again it will be an accident claims company or something of that ilk. 

We need to kill off these pages and stop these scammers tugging at our heart strings. Never like them AND NEVER infect your friends timelines by sharing them.

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Harambe the gorilla. 

I note with interest that social media warriors, amateur anthropologists and ‘perfect parents’ have gotten themselves into a tizz and gone into overdrive over the sad death of Harambe the gorilla. The full video clearly shows the 400lb gorilla dragging the screaming child by the leg through the water in the enclosure. There’s a suggestion that tranquilliser darts should have been used instead of a lethal bullet. Those however take valuable minutes to take effect, valuable minutes in which an already distressed and confused gorilla could do real harm to the child. Harambe was most certainly not tenderly nurturing the child either. 

Issues regarding the rights of zoo’s to exist or the suitability of the child in questions parents are for another day so I guess it comes down to one simple question. If it was your screaming offspring being dragged around that enclosure having his/her head bashed against the walls would you want the zoo keepers to stand about scratching their nuts debating what to do?

Syria

Britain’s involvement in Syria is now decided. It also satisfies all the stated UN aims and conditions. The assumption is that an indiscriminate carpet bombing campaign is underway in which countless thousands of civilians will perish but the reality is very different. The RAF has carried out over 400 air strikes so far in Iraq with not one civilian casualty reported. At the moment there’s no evidence to suggest that Syria will be any different. http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/raf-pledges-no-civilian-casualties-in-syria-air-strikes-11364025655859

Those pictures of demolished tower blocks with dead babies covered in dust are the result of Assad’s barrel bombs, not ours. Whether you think Assad with Russian support has a right to murder his own citizens is of course another matter. 

At the moment ISIS have conclusively won the media war and the battle for public opinion so whilst we the moral majority piously march up and down Whitehall, bully our MP’s and sit at home slapping ourselves on the back claiming the moral high ground gay people will still be strapped to chairs and thrown off buildings. Christians will still be crucified, good peaceful Muslims will still be beheaded. Cannabis smoking criminals will still be stoned to death and women sex slaves who are deemed past their “sexual best” will still earn a bullet to the back of their head and get thrown unceremoniously into a mass burial pit, countless thousands of them too. To do nothing and look away is to condemn many more thousands to the same fate. 
This is not about a war with Syria, it’s about a savage, barbaric and fascist ideology that directly threatens millions of people. It’s easy for us to sit at home hand wringing and self flagellating but let’s not forget. All that’s needed for evil to exist is for good men to sit back and do nothing. To also coin a popular phrase, “rant over”.

The Scottish Referendum.

I make no comments regarding the rights and wrongs of the impending Scottish referendum, that’s for others to do but I’m a realist, I believe everyone has the right to decide their own fate. So it’s down to the good folks of Scotland to decide what’s in their best interests. It’s not often I dabble in politics either, I care little for it. But here’s a sobering thought. At the moment there are 59 Scottish MP’s sitting in Parliament. In the event of a “Yes” vote next week those 59 MP’s will be evicted from the UK Parliament when independence comes into full effect in 2015. The consequences for what’s left of the UK are clear. Politics has gone through a drastic transformation over the past few years, UKIP on the rise, Green and Independent MP’s sitting in Parliament. Without those 59 Scottish MP’s the general Labour vote will be decimated, the UK could be faced with a Conservative government (without being propped up by the Lib Dems) for many years to come….

H.G. Sansostri

I’m really honoured and pleased to introduce a very special young man as my latest guest blogger. H.G. Sansostri is still at school, he recently decided to tackle head on the worst of childhood school experiences. Bullying. A must read for all young people going through that terrible experience. ‘The Little Dudes’ Skool Survival Guide’ by H.G. Sansostri is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-dudes-Skool-Survival-ebook/dp/B00FPXO4KE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381313027&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Little+Dudes+Skool+Survival+Guide
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The Book that was Never Meant to be!

Hello readers! I am H.G Sansostri and I am writing this to tell you all about how I WAS bullied and how my book
‘The Little Dudes’ Skool Survival Guide’ came to be…
The bullying started in Year Four. I was doing well in my Maths, English, R.E and other subjects. I had a large group of friends from Year Three and Year Four (our school was experimenting with mixing the two year groups to form one class). It was all running smoothly like normal.
Then this boy came!!!
He was the same age as all of us, looking like a brand new friend to us all. I found out later on that he was and still is special needs. Me and all of my friends wanted to be there for him and help him out, telling him that we would be there if he wanted to know anything or talk to us about something. He started to feel comfortable with our school, and fitted in with a lot of my friends.
Unfortunately, I was oblivious at the time that that wasn’t a good thing. Of course I wanted him to fit in and be comfortable, but he started to get a little ahead of himself. He started to call me names, say things behind my back and just get angry at me for no reason.
I remember in Year Five, after an incident of bullying was reported, being him again towards me, he put his hand up and said ‘Miss, Harrison is trying to get his own back at me.’??? for some reason he had a vendetta against me which I just didn’t understand?
Even the teachers would explain endlessly to me, that he had problems and needed help, WHERE WAS MY HELP!
Some teachers even asked him why he was angry with me and why he was targeting me, and he simply replied ‘I don’t know Miss. I don’t know.’ Some people say that the truth will eventually be found out, and this occured a few days later.
Anyway back to Year Four…
I was quite taken aback from seeing how he just started to suddenly turn on me. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing! He would walk up to me in the playground and say something rude to me and suddenly walk off. Now, I eventually found out that some of my so called friends (not any more) started taking advantage of him and kept asking him to walk up to me and say stupid things.
He has also attempted and I repeat attempted to do this to me once recently in my new secondary school, no chance! but everything has calmed down now. As he knows its game over!
So we moved on into Year Five, with one of my favourite teachers ever. The incidents with the new boy and my friends slowly moved from ‘arguments’ to ‘fall-outs’. Some of my friends would just say something horrible to me, as they listened to him? I would then defend myself and argue back, not knowing then my newfound solution ‘ITI’ (ignore total idiots) which I invented to deal with my unhappy days at school (this is in my new book out ‘The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide). I fell out with almost all my friends as they were downright mean to me and I felt really lonely too!
Half the time I played on my own, pretending to be a person blasting aliens into oblivion as most ten-year old boys did, or I would sit on the school bench in the playground and think and think about all the kids playing happily, little did I know that this would become great material for my book in which there is a chapter called ‘The Specifics’
The only people who were there for me was my girlfriend (and still is now) and two of her own friends who eventually became my friends. We played a lot together and sat next to each other in class.
That didn’t really sort out what was going on at school though. I was alone a lot and I felt really sad.
Sometimes the boys and even some of the girls from the other class would evict me from their games, leaving me on the bench alone. I didn’t understand what I had done at the time, but now I know it had to be something to do with jealousy. I really didnt understand what I had done?
Just hopping back in time again for a minute as the jealousy, I think, was linked to the fact that Im a child actor, I also think now that this is why it all began…
At the beginning of Year Four, I was in a West-End Theatre Production called ‘Lord of the Flies’. I played the ‘littlun’ Percival and I had great fun acting with the rest of the cast. Even my Headmistress came and watched me perform and she awarded me with a certificate the next day at assembly. Everyone in class was asking about it at the end of the day, swarming me with questions.
The next morning, if I was to say something about my acting or the certificate, as I was still buzzing from all the excitement about it. ‘Harrison,’ they would reply ‘honestly, no one cares?
Well I then moved on into Year Six, with another great teacher that I had for my last year of primary school. This was were ex- friends started again the bullying and really got stuck in, with the ‘new boy’ as the leader of the group but at the very start of Year Six, I remember that there was a moment of friendship between us all and I felt really happy, not for long though! We had all got the ball taken off us because two boys started fighting on the pitch, so we were just sitting there not doing anything and sighing in boredom. I sat with them as well, marvelling at the fact they weren’t bullying me anymore. Then…

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One of them suggested a game, where the new boy played a famous celebrity and the rest were his bodyguards. I had to be a crazy paparazzi fan wanting to get to them, and the bodyguards had to keep me away from him. I stupidly agreed to be the crazed fan, not knowing what I was getting myself into.

It started fine and amazingly fun, all of us laughing and saying funny things to each other. Then…I honestly don’t know what happened. They heightened the way of playing and so did I and…it eventually got to a point of total madness. I feel bad still that it was a silly plan they had just to have a pop at me and belittle me. They started shoving me away hard, yelling things at me and continuing to shove me away. I, still thinking this was part of the game, shoved back. Luckily this didn’t cause a fight because the bell rang a few seconds later. Saved by the bell, what a cliche’!

The big bullying episode happened halfway through the school year, where I was with the group or trying hard to be! They suddenly attacked me, one kneed me in the stomach and the other one pushed me down and sat on top of me, whilst one kept kicking me from behind in the bottom.
The new boy laughed with enjoyment as he watched me yell at them to get off. I can’t even remember why I was standing there with them anymore. I ran off, hid and cried on my own!
The only reason this was ever stopped, and didn’t go on into Year Seven, was because of one boy.

He was okay and never got involved with the group. He watched by as they attacked me in the ‘game’ and asked them to stop. I never told my Mum a thing, thats where I went wrong! I then invited him over the following Saturday and he told my Mum everything that happened to me at school. She thanked him, and when he left, she sat me down in a chair and asked me to explain every single thing that had happened, she then took notes, after that she told me off for not confiding in her or dad. She had every right to. I dont know why I hadn’t told anyone or even tried to stop it, I was really unhappy though! Maybe almost ashamed?

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We did get it all sorted out. We visited our Headmistress, who was really good about it all and very sad for me too, she got the boys and two witnesses to explain what they saw. My Headmistress took a statement from me as well and I told her everything like there was no tomorrow! Literally everything and I felt so much better that I cried and cried!

The very next week, on the exact same day, I was called to the Headmistress’s Office. The boys who bullied me and the witnesses came and sat in the lobby area, waiting to be called in. They sat me down in a chair facing another one and brought each boy in one at a time. They all apologised, including the witnesses for not telling the teachers first thing. I honestly didn’t want to hear those two boys apologies, because they didn’t need to. The best thing, in my opinion, was to have told my Mum above everything else, she was on a mission and wouldnt let a thing go until she had nailed everybody, including the parents! Go Mum GO!

Then the new boy came in.

The headmistress talked to him for a bit about respect and being the ring-leader of the pack. He growled all his answers back to her, staring at me with a cold glare. I stared back at him. He eventually apologised with a low growl, and was escorted back to class.
‘Do you forgive him, Harrison?’ Said the other teacher who was in the meeting as well.
‘Um…’ I sigh. ‘No, miss.’ I dont!

Despite all that’s happened, though, I now understand that he wasn’t the ring-leader. The other boys were taking advantage of him and manipulating him, making him do all those things. Granted he laughed at me when I was attacked, but I think he just didn’t know whether to help or just leave me be. As he had problems too?

Later on in Year Six, I started writing. I wrote down solutions on how to deal with arguments, fights and classroom problems, using two characters Billy and Ethan as my boys to solve situations. I had an endless amount of material to write about, because those bullies along with a load of other unkind kids supplied it for me 🙂 I wrote and wrote and wrote until I reached the end! YAY but then Mum acidentally deleted a fifth of my work! Mum? she was trying to email the last part to her own PC but instead deleted it, so I rewrote the last part again, but still feel that the original ending had more guts and sincerity, if you understand what I mean?

The unfortunate episodes that I went through at primary school were written in my book to tell other children how to avoid them and the horrors of bullying in general.
Hey, you know what? Me and the new boy became good…friends, for a little while. We had to make a short film with a moral storyline, so we chose bullying. I played the person who was getting bullied, the new boy and one of my ‘witnesses’ a bully and another boy the camera-man. We showed them all off at our little makeshift ‘Class Film Festival’ and ours was chosen to show younger year groups the horrors of bullying. Hmm I wonder if thats because I was a convincing ‘bullied boy’ given my real experience of it? :-/

The last school day was the 20th of July, 2013. We all waved each other goodbye at the end of the day.
I looked back at my primary school for one moment. I knew I was going to miss it, despite all that had happened to me during my primary school years. Although a lot of my friends came with me to secondary school we are not in the same class anymore and Im happy about that, I do feel better there, oh yes and stronger too!
By
H.G. Sansostri

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Big THANK YOU to Harri for his excellent contribution. You can find out more about him here:

WEBSITE – http://www.hgsansostri.com

TWITTER – @hgsansostri

Facebook – hgsansostri

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK – ‘The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide’ written by a kid like you
available on amazon –
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-dudes-Skool-Survival-ebook/dp/B00FPXO4KE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381313027&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Little+Dudes+Skool+Survival+Guide

Kellie McAnulty

I’d like to welcome my latest guest to my blog page. Kellie McAnulty was recently lucky enough to have been treated to a VIP back stage visit to the set of American Idol. She relates her wonderful experience here for us. You can find out more about Kellie on her wonderful blog page. http://www.herthoughtsaboutit.com/
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Hi, my name is Kellie and I am a Graphic Designer. I have been married for ten years, we have a German Shepherd and a sun conure. My passions are watching reality tv and sports, listening to all kinds of music and to travel. I’ve traveled to places such as New York City, Florida, Los Angeles, Oahu and many more.
Recently I was chosen by American Idol along with 17 other women across the U.S. to go to Los Angeles and get a behind the scenes tour and meet Harry Connick, Jr. Those women, mostly bloggers, inspired me to start my own blog. I hope you enjoy.
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I’m going to Hollywood!
(American Idol Productions treated me to Hollywood week. Here is part of my story of how it all happened.)

It all started on December 8 when my husband and I were eating out at our favorite mexican restaurant. I looked at my phone and saw that American Idol had started following me on Twitter and had sent me a message. It said they wanted me to join them in LA for an exclusive idol event and to email them within 12 hours if I was interested.
If I’m interested? Ummm, of course I’m interested! But if you think for two seconds that I didn’t think this was spam or some kind of scam you’re wrong. The first thing I did was check to see if it was the verified Twitter of American Idol…it WAS. The next thing I did was look to see who all they had tweeted the same message to. It wasn’t that many. I thought well, what can it hurt to send my email and see what happens. I contacted a few of the girls to see what their thoughts were about the situation and they too were skeptical but hopeful at the same time. This was, after all, American Idol we’re talking about.
Next I received an email from American Idol saying they were always willing to try new things and change things up and had handpicked a small group of fans/bloggers to join them for the upcoming Hollywood week. They said that space was limited and if I was interested to RSVP by that Monday. Well, long story short, I RSVP’d as fast as I could type the info. A short time later I received an email from their travel coordinator saying he would be setting up my travel arrangements.
The next thing I know I’m on a plane headed to Los Angeles. Not only was I unsure what was in store for me and the other girls, this was my first time to fly or go any long distance without my husband.
I felt so grateful to God for giving me this opportunity for whatever the reasons may be and I wondered if my mom may have had a hand in it herself as you may have read about her in my previous post. I was thankful to American Idol for allowing me to be part of this experience and to my husband and all he had put up with the past few days. Between nerves, excitement and trying to get my work finished before going, I had not been fun to be around. I was thankful to my boss and the girls I work with. You see I’m a graphic designer of an auto publication and this was our largest issue of the year. It was only with their extremely hard work to get the newspaper out early, that I was even able to go on this journey.
I was excited for so many reasons. I had already met a great group of ladies online that were being brought together for this journey and I was looking forward to meeting them all in person and see just how our personalities compared. I have always been known as the quiet, shy one. Would I fit in with the rest? Would I be uncomfortable the whole time and not say anything? Well it turned out the girls were just as great in person and I never felt more comfortable around a group of people. I felt as though I came out of my shell in a way that I never had. Maybe it was just the excitement of the experience. I mean I was in Hollywood. How could anyone not get into that.

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What were the odds that I, your average girl from Arkansas, would now be in LA about to be headed into one of the most popular venues in America and getting to see behind the scenes of one of my all-time favorite shows? The events leading up to this point had, in my eyes, been every bit of magical and this lanyard was the key to go where most American Idol fans only dream of getting to go.

We were given these lanyards before going to the Dolby Theatre for our exclusive backstage tour of American Idol. As we entered the building we had to be escorted, some escorts in front and some behind us. As we walked in we had to show our passes to a man at the door. I recall him telling me that he needed to see the other side of mine. One side being just plain with some text, easily copied, the other side having somewhat of a textured, iridescent look. In a funny way, him asking that kind of made it feel even more official.

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That lanyard allowed us to go backstage where the “magic” actually starts. It allowed us to see the judges dressing rooms, break room, even out back where the production truck was that ran the whole show. We saw the areas where the contestants warm up or take one last look in the mirror before taking the stage. We were permitted to go on stage where not only American Idol contestants have stood, but so many stars have once stood while attending the Academy Awards, also held there each year.

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Then we walked the long platform that led to the judges’ table. The place where the judges sit and give their own words of wisdom and their constructive criticism. The place where they tell them they’ve made it or tell them their time on Idol has unfortunately come to an end.

From the judges’ table we walked through the theatre to where we would be sitting. I sat in awe of the beautiful theatre imagining who may have sat in the very seat I was now having the privilege to sit in. We then watched the contestants come on stage group by group to sing for the judges. It was their time to shine.

In the end, only one will win and the rest will go home. But I can only hope that just as my experience led me to meet new people, make new friends and experience new things that only American Idol could have allowed me to ever see or do, I hope they too enjoyed the “magic” that is American Idol. #thisisreal

(While I received travel, accommodations and tickets from American Idol, all opinions are my own)
For more information please check out: http://www.herthoughtsaboutit.com/

http://www.facebook.com/idoltweethearts

http://www.twitter.com/idoltweethearts

I’m pleased to introduce a new guest blogger to my blog page. Ankur Goyal has a great way with words, he presents us with some very profound thought provoking stories. You can check out and find out more about him on his own great blog page. http://inandoutwithme.blogspot.in
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About me

I always get confused about what should I tell about me first, that I am a banker or a story teller. Unfortunately these are two professions which I would never be able to afford to mix.

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The Left , the Right and the Tea

Like any other prudent person, I had set targets for my life and like any other middle class Indian; the targets were a home, a car, a loving spouse and a stable job. However, like my peers I was looking at the previous generation, who spent their entire lives in pursuit, while setting up my goals. And that brings me to today, when I am forced to relook at my life’s objectives. To bring you up-to-date, let me give you a little flashback (Bollywood style).

My first cherished memory is not a visual; it is a smell, which never left my side. It is an aroma which starts building up slowly and fills up your soul in the process. My family’s fortunes and misfortunes always had something to do with tea. I spent my childhood days sniffing produce of various tea estates across Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiris.

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As a kid I always used to dig pretty looking tea or the one which smelled better whereas my father picked up the opposite. He used to say that it is natural for me to decide the way I did, since I still had liberty to use my right brain whereas as a grown-up he has to use the left one. My father has been a man of few words but when he says something he makes it worth the effort. Looking back perhaps this is the most important learning my father ever imparted. I became a banker and loved my job.

Coming back to today, when I am resetting my goals. Victor E. Frankl mentioned in Man’s search for meaning – “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

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The time has come to take a turn to the right, the time to once again focus on smell and beauty of three leaves of camellia sinensis. When I used to take long walks in rain treading through endless identical chain of tea bushes, I always wondered whether there was a way to replicate the experience on paper.

I have been an avid reader for more than a decade now and nothing fascinates more than a new idea, a twist in the story and the way one makes tears flow from paper to eyes and eyes to paper. I believe, when one puts in effort in writing something splendid, it ought to be read. In my own words –

I looked up; it was the first drop of rain.
Tearing through the clouds, screaming as it did.
For all this effort, it had to head towards the drain,
So I looked up and caught it in my eye instead.

But now I do not wish to be the one who catches the rain drop, I wish to be the cloud that soothes and drenches the troubled and parched spirits.

This post marks an important point in my life, since I wish to look back at this moment and know exactly how I felt, how desperately I wanted to break free and what lead me to take decisions that I did, and I hope that I am in a completely different setting when I read this.

Thank you Graham for lending me your space to share my thoughts.

Please visit and read my thoughts and stories on my Blog:

http://inandoutwithme.blogspot.in

You may also follow me at @storiesandme