Choose a picture/photograph or a short sequence of pictures/photographs and use it as the basis for a narrative.

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Choose a picture/photograph or a short sequence of pictures/photographs and use it as the basis for a narrative.

When I saw this as a title, I avoided it, but then I thought, if you are used to wrapping text round photos for newsletters, to family and friends, then this is what it may be asking for. And so, here is my attempt, based on the truth of the last ten days or so. Totally true and totally tiring!

Little did I know just what would happen over the previous week to get me to this point, in my hospital bed, drained, alone and at death’s door. For me it had been a typical week. Everything had gone normally, but with one minor difference. The levels of exhaustion felt were off the scale, beyond measure, simply too much to take!

It had been getting progressively worse for the past few weeks of my work life, with my teaching career about to suffer a setback that would undoubtedly, be monumental in its magnificence. For I was about to be placed in a position that I should not come back from. Indeed, not many would come back from the brink of death, having suffered from the ailments that plagued me.

On the Sunday before the Friday, I had gone to my church, as usual, as is my practice and I had tried to enter into the worship, but I could not, for the life of me, enter into the singing of the songs as I wanted to. Hymns are poetry sung from the heart and mind, so when this boy sings them, the people who reside on the other side of the globe can hear me sing. Such is my enjoyment of them. But I could not get the timing right, or the breath for the spaces and rests, those times when you need to hold a note and those when you end them.

It all went disastrously wrong for me!

And so, for the next five days, until the Friday evening, I continued in this cycle of tiredness and felt completely drained every second of every day. I even drove 45 miles from where I live to see my Mother on that Friday, did her shopping for her, sorted it out and then complained of over heating. So I went to cool off and collapsed before I got to where I was heading. fifteen minutes later, after having cooled off somewhat, I got up and continued with my day, driving back home again. Little did I know what had just happened to me.

A cough had developed that day, during that first 45 mile journey and it continued through the evening and the night, into midnight and beyond, making it so that I simply could not sleep. So, reluctantly, I rang the emergency services, feeling something was wrong.

When I got to AE, they took one look and shoved a cannula in my right hand and began inserting antibiotics. For the next twelve hours or so, I was probed, prodded and poked in numerous ways, leading to a diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia, which had collapsed my right lung and brought on a Type 2 NSTEMI heart attack. This is why you see a mask in one of these pictures. This is why my breathing became so intolerably difficult. This is why my blood saturation levels dropped from their normal 98% to below 70 percent.

And so, you see me here, recovering from a major bout with illness. You see me at my worst but also at my best, for at the point of no return, when I knew it was either a case of the doctors would save me, or God would take me, there was one thing that was running through my mind. That was a song and I am still singing it to this day. Its title says it all: To God Be The Glory. Great Things He Has Done.

I survived that week from hell and I survived it for one reason; there is something else that I need to do before my time is up and I go off to meet my maker. What that something is has yet to be shown to me or defined, but I can categorically state this, that I believe it is something of magnificent proportions in the lives of so many people. I wonder what that will be and how it will reveal itself!
665 words…

 

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Take the end of a film and use it as the starting point for a piece of writing.

Take the end of a film and use it as the starting point for a piece of writing.

 

This is and was, a task in the 2014 series of controlled assessments. There are many different ways you could approach this and some things to think about before you approach it. Some are listed below:

  1. Choosing the film could be the hardest thing you have to do here and could lead you somewhere you do not want to go to. For example, your favourite film might be one where there is an ambiguous ending, where the viewer [or reader in the novel] is unsure as to what happens next. Great Expectations, as a novel, ends this way. Pip and Estella walk off into the sunset, leaving us to guess what will come next. Your story could get bogged down without really careful planning. If Pip and Estella are to spend their lives together, then your story may be how they get to the happiness that is marriage for them. She is rich from her marriage to Drummle after all. Planning is vital here for it to make sense. Gibberish is not good in a GCSE story.
  2. Planning is vital for success. Hang on. Haven’t I written that already? Well yes I have, but how do you plan this? One way would be a mind map, or diagram of bubbled ideas, shooting off to other ideas linked in etc. Another will be the bullet pointed plan. To someone as logically minded as myself, this would appeal, for you can plan the story logically and at each turn know where to begin each paragraph. This can be done without planning, but I would not trust myself if the plan was not there.
  3. Characterization is important too! Using the Great Expectations example, from above, we already have 2 characters, so who is going to be included in our new story, to take the ending further? That is a decision that is yours and yours alone. I would not add more than 2 more to the existent list in the novel. 2 more ‘new’ characters would give the freedom to change direction. Will Pip and Estella adopt a child, as Miss Havisham did with her? That could be the starting, or end point of any story you write.
  4. Adventure is needed – in the story and in the writing. There is nothing worse for a teacher than marking 35 pieces of work, each 750 words long [you do the Maths here] and by the time you have got to number 23, you are in desperate need of caffeine by intravenous injection. And then, number 24 blows your pants off because it is adventurous in content and style. It has characters that are full, believable, understandable [the sort you say “I would do that too” to] and ultimately entertaining. Magwitch, in Great Expectations, explodes onto the reader’s mind early on and then is not seen for some time until the great reveal. Maybe, history could repeat itself in your story, where Pip and Estella travel to the lands where Abel Magwitch made his money, to take over from him where he left off before returning to England [although legally his estate would have been forfeited to the crown for being a returned convict]? The choice is yours, but by God, make it entertaining, or your teacher dies of boredom in a darkened room, all alone!

Go on, have a go. Think of a film with a duality or ambiguity at the ending. Then think logically what would happen next? What would I like to see happen next? And then write the thing, planning it first. You may even be surprised at how good it really is.

 

RJ

How To Write Using Correct Devices

Accuracy in your written work is possible, however hard you may think it is to achieve. Whether it is capital letters and full stops that you cannot master, or more likely the semi colon and the colon, it is possible to get them right. 

Consider how this writer puts together his report. Warning, it is a sports writer, writing after the Spanish were eliminated from the World Cup yesterday, so if you are Spanish and football mad, I apologise. I picked it because of how it is put together, not the content. 

World Cup 2014: Spain’s stunning demise signals the end

 

“Disaster”, “failure” and “humiliation” were among the words used by the Spanish press after their side’s World Cup title defence began with a heavy loss to the Netherlands.

Yet there is only one way to describe Wednesday’s defeat at the hands of Chile, which sees Vicente Del Bosque’s team eliminated with a game of the group stage still to play: the end.

The end of an unprecedented era of dominance that so captivated the global game, the end of a golden generation of players who dared, succeeded, thrilled and inspired.

Cesc Fabregas had called the Chile match “life or death” and it proved the latter. This night will go down in football history as the night the tiki-taka trailblazers bade farewell.

The denouement was always going to arrive at some point, but few expected it to come with such alarming speed and in such unceremonious fashion. First-round knockout.

Reigning champions have, of course, succumbed early before – Italy in 1950 and 2010, Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002 – and losing to the Dutch and Chileans on current form is no disgrace.

The Netherlands possess attacking weapons to trouble anyone and Chile, for whom all 10 outfield starters were under the age of 30, have been tipped as dark horses for the title.

However, we are talking about Spain, the winners of the last three major international trophies; the first team to lift two European Championships and a World Cup in succession.

Spain won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 to become the first side to win all three trophies in a row

Alarm bells started to ring when they were beaten by Brazil in the Confederations Cup final a year ago, also here in the Maracana. Explanations were given, judgments reserved. Then came a friendly with Chile in September that needed a stoppage-time equaliser to earn a draw.

Nor did Barcelona’s poor season bode well; this is the club from where Spain take their stylistic lead, with seven of Barca’s stars included in the 23-man squad and all of them featuring against the Netherlands.

Another seven came from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid; both had impressive campaigns, but their involvement in the Champions League final made for weary legs.

“How many of the Spain players have lived up to who they are and played to their top form?” asked Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis on BBC Radio 5 live.

“Whether that was because their season has finished later than most I’m not sure. I really wanted them to do well at this World Cup. I feel for Del Bosque – one of the great managers.”

We knew when Spain landed in Brazil that they were nearing the end of a cycle and faced an incredibly difficult task to be become the first Europeans to win a World Cup in South America.

What we did not anticipate was the Dutch handing out a 5-1 drubbing, the heaviest defeat suffered by World Cup winners at the following tournament, or the Chileans dispatching them so clinically.

 

Spain’s Sergio Busquets misses open goal. How different it might have been had David Silva not wasted a glorious chance to make it 2-0 on Friday and Sergio Busquets managed to prod into an empty net at 0-2 on Wednesday.

In all, except brief periods of the first half versus the Netherlands, Spain have looked a shadow of their old self – their control, movement and passing unrecognisable from the not too distant past.

Against Chile, they posted their lowest passing accuracy in a World Cup game (81.7%) since a quarter-final loss to South Korea in 2002 and Andres Iniesta attempted the fewest passes (52) in the eight World Cup matches in which he has played a full 90 minutes.

Spain lost 152 balls to Chile’s 141, making 62 recoveries compared to 71, and despite attempting five more tackles than Jorge Sampaoli’s men their success rate was 13% lower.

To watch Xabi Alonso – someone who has been at the heart of Spain’s glory – resort to hacking at opponents in frustration as Ls Roja failed to establish any sort of rhythm was sad.

Pre-match, the midfielder claimed the criticism of his side was “exaggerated”, adding: “I don’t think you can conclude that this generation is finished, we’re still alive.”

But those words now carry a hollow ring and as Spain walked off the pitch at full-time there was little sense of shock. They looked disappointed but not distraught, more resigned to the inevitable. There was even restraint about Chile’s celebrations; they triumphed with plenty left in the tank.

“What is painfully obvious watching them live is the lack of pace in the last third,” said former England midfielder Danny Murphy on BBC Radio 5 live.

Del Bosque’s charges have nothing to play for against Australia on 23 June and it will be interesting to see whether he makes the sort of changes that will be necessary going forward.

Iker Casillas, goalkeeper and captain, barely played for Real Madrid last season and endured a forgettable, error-ridden World Cup. Will David De Gea, 23, replace the 33-year-old?

A dejected Iker Casillas after Spain are knocked out of the World Cup in Brazil

Will Iker Casillas make way for David De Gea in the final game against Australia?

Xavi, the symbol of Spain’s rise and the heartbeat of their midfield for so long, was dropped for the Chile game and at 34 might never pull on the red shirt again. Koke, 22, waits in the wings as a quicker, more dynamic option with a better engine than the fading legend.

Iniesta, Xavi’s partner in crime, still has a lot to give but is nowhere near top form, defender Gerard Pique was replaced by Martinez in what may be a sign of things to come, and this looks to be the end of the international road for Alonso and Villa at 32, possibly even Fernando Torres at 30.

Some potential successors await in the current squad and others outside. Spain claimed the 2013 European Under-21 Championship – the likes of Jese, Alvaro Morata, Gerard Deulofeu, Isco and Daniel Carvajal coming to the fore. Two years ago, they took a second consecutive Under-19 title.

“Villa, Xavi, Torres, you look at the Spain team and you think there are six or seven players who could all step down,” said former England defender and 5 live summariser Danny Mills.

“In players like Isco, Juan Mata and Fabregas there are still a lot of players coming through at the top level, and you also expect De Gea to be around for a long time. So Spain will come strong again but it’s a big ask for the youngsters to come in and replace what was maybe an ageing squad with a little bit of complacency and a lack of desire.”

From speaking to Spanish journalists, it is clear they are looking forward to a fresh start, optimistic about the future, but there is also unhappiness that the present team did not show the necessary hunger and application to make Spain’s proven philosophy click as it has previously.

For Spain’s approach to bear fruit, they need an impregnable defence, tireless runners and relentless hard work. None of those boxes have been ticked in Brazil.

They conceded seven goals in two games compared to just two in seven four years ago, which when you do not score many goals – another problem that requires solving – means trouble.

Del Bosque was always going to pin his hopes on this crop for one final hurrah – there is an argument that exposing youngsters to a disastrous title defence would have caused more harm than good – but why did he not shuffle the 23 more ambitiously once selected?

“It’s difficult when the coach isn’t able to perceive that the team is changing and the generation is slowing down,” said Ernest Macia of Radio Catalunya. “To many people, Del Bosque was not cunning enough to retire after the last World Cup.

“He’s a good manager but maybe not a good coach. He knows how to deal with egos but when the players doesn’t respond you need someone who can make changes to a team that normally plays on memory. It was probably necessary to lose like this to close this beautiful and glorious era.”

While speculation is sure to rage over which players will retire or be cast aside, Del Bosque’s achievements since being appointed in 2008 are said to guarantee his position – so any decision would come down to the 53-year-old, whose contract expires after Euro 2016.

If he does leave, there is concern over who would be available and appropriate to take over. They would have to embrace a method that is non-negotiable but must evolve because Spain have become predictable. The Dutch and Chile knew how to beat them and La Roja couldn’t adapt.

Former England winger Chris Waddle explained: “They were two hard games for Spain and that is because teams have changed the way they play against them.

“Before, teams used to sit back and play on the counter-attack but now they play quicker than Spain, they press high up the pitch and nick the ball off them. Because Spain are not used to that, and they leave space behind with their full-backs coming on, teams are having success.”

Rather than a big-name Spaniard such as Rafael Benitez, they could opt for a former player in whom Spain’s chosen gameplan is engrained. The likes of Under-21 coach Albert Celades, Recreativo de Huelva boss Sergi Barjuan, Olympiacos manager Michel and Sporting Gijon’s Abelardo Fernandez are all highly thought of.

But for the time being the responsibility still lies with Del Bosque.

On the morning after losing to the Netherlands, the front cover of Spanish newspaper Marca was a funereal black with the headline: “Fix this”. Thursday’s simply said: “The End”.

Real Life Narratives

Today is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings on those Normandy beaches. Many men went and did not return, but those that did leave their stories across the internet. 

This is one of them. RIP to all those who served, then and since, as well as prior to WW2. 

Voices of D-Day: Thomas Valence 

Allied landing craftWe proceeded toward the beach, and many of the fellows got sick. The water was quite rough. It was a choppy ride in, and we received a lot of spray.

Our boat was one of six of A Company in the first wave, and when we got to the beach, or close to it, the obstacles erected by the Germans to prevent the landing were fully in view, as we were told they would be, which meant the tide was low.

I was the rifle sergeant and followed Lieutenant Anderson off the boat, and we did what we could rather than what we had practiced doing for so many months in England. There was a rather wide expanse of beach, and the Germans were not to be seen at all, but they were firing at us, rapidly, with a great deal of small-arm fire.

As we came down the ramp, we were in water about knee high, and we started to do what we were trained to do — move forward, and then crouch and fire. One of the problems was we didn’t quite know what to fire at. I saw some tracers coming from a concrete emplacement which to me looked mammoth. I never anticipated any gun emplacements being that big. I attempted to fire back at that, but I had no concept of what was going on behind me. There was not much to see in front of me except a few houses, and the water kept coming in so rapidly, and the fellows I was with were being hit and put out of action so quickly that it become a struggle to stay on one’s feet. I abandoned my equipment, which was very heavy.

I floundered in the water and had my hand up in the air, trying to get my balance, when I was first shot. I was shot through the left hand, which broke a knuckle, and then through the palm of the hand. I felt nothing but a little sting at the time, but I was aware that I was shot. Next to me in the water, Private Henry G. Witt was rolling over towards me. “Sergeant, they’re leaving us here to die like rats. Just to die like rats.” I certainly wasn’t thinking the same thing, nor did I share that opinion. I didn’t know whether we were being left or not.

I made my way forward as best I could. My rifle jammed, so I picked up a carbine and got off a couple of rounds. We were shooting at something that seemed inconsequential. There was no way I was going to knock out a German concrete emplacement with a .30-caliber rifle. I was hit again, once in the left thigh, which broke my hip bone, and a couple of times in my pack, and then my chin strap on my helmet was severed by a bullet. I worked my way up onto the beach, and staggered up against a wall, and collapsed there. The bodies of the other guys washed ashore, and I was one live body amongst many of my friends who were dead and, in many cases, blown to pieces.

Write About A Time When You Have Been Surprised

Every now and again there is a coursework or exam task that asks you to explain something. It can be done via bullet points and article format, or it can be done via a descriptive piece. This is one I did years ago now, with a Year ten bottom set, to show them how to structure their words. 

A time when I felt very surprised 

There have been several times in my life when I have felt the emotions linked with being surprised but nothing compares to the day when I won something for the very first time.

I am one of those people who if they enter something has absolutely no chance of winning. Ever since the National Lottery began, I have kept the same numbers each week and won nothing. If I am entered for something that gives a prize, you can guarantee that the prize will be given to someone else, even though their entry is useless by comparison. I have as much luck as a three legged dog that has lost the ability to balance on the remaining three.

So when I won something and I had not even entered, it came as a total surprise, a bolt out of the blue to please me for the rest of my life. It was an Internet competition that Amazon.co.uk used to run. I knew nothing of it when I submitted my review of a book, but that was about to change.

I had read the third Harry Potter book called The Prisoner of Azkaban and had enjoyed the read but was a little concerned about the dark nature of the novel for a young audience. I have always been careful what I give children to read and so, it sprang from that ideology that I would criticise the book for being dark in content.

Two weeks after I had submitted the review, I received an email from Amazon saying, ‘Congratulations. You are our book reviewer of the month for December. Your prize is a night at the Whitbread Book Awards and a night at the Marriott Hotel on the Embankment, in London. Do you want to accept this prize?’

If ever a more stupid question has ever been posted on the Internet, then please let me know, but I had no idea it had been entered for any competition. I had no idea what the email referred to and so, had to work it out for myself, with ever increasing degrees of surprise growing on my already smiling face.

My wife was talking to me at the time of me reading the email and by this time, I had stopped listening, as is the case when I try to do more than one thing at one time and so she had to be stern with me to get a response.

I apologised, as you do, looked back at the computer to see if I was dreaming and then apologised to her and asked her to read what I was reading. I still could not believe it. When she realised what had happened, she told me to say yes to the thing and get on with it quickly. So I did.

A couple of weeks later, at the end of  January 2000, I found myself stood quaffing cocktails quicker than they could serve them to me, getting intoxicated on both the booze and the fact that so many famous people were coming through the doors.

Ann Widdecombe came and sat down next to me, a senior Tory MP at the time. Actors and actresses waltzed in; some like Jerry Hall, once married to Mick Jagger, seemed to glide in effortlessly as if they were on ice skates. Then, it was as if God had walked through the door.

I have always been a fan of the work of Seamus Heaney, being introduced to him in my own GCSE years and reading Beowulf, the translation that he made which was to win the award we were attending.

It was a moment of great excitement. I had not expected it, for my glass, already half drunk again, was placed firmly in my mouth when he walked through the door and scanned the room. His eyes met mine, which by now were increasing in size from the surprise of what I was seeing. His reply: well, his eyes lit up when he saw me as if we had been friends long ago and he was simply saying hello again old friend over a crowded room.

Sheer magic! The feeling that surged through my body cannot be humanly described in words, but the event stopped the drink from going down my throat. Instead, my teeth fixed onto the rim of the glass for what seemed an interminably long time. Then he was gone. The whole thing lasted for no more than three seconds, but it is a memory that I will never forget.

What a surprise. We never talked, but as a writer and poet it was as if I had met with God all over again. That has to be the time, when I was most surprised. Nothing before or since has come close, not even when my wife said ‘yes’ or when children came along. It is funny what life holds for us.

Don’t Get Me Started!

One of last year’s coursework pieces, in my usual sarcastic style. Enjoy!

Don’t Get Me Started … On Being Neighbourly

Why is it that wherever I live there are neighbours from hell? They seem to follow me wherever I go in life! I must have a big sign on my head that reads IDIOT or something.

When we owned a house and we moved in, we were happy. The neighbours were great; fine, friendly people who wanted to have good neighbours by the side of them in their life, people one could rely on, people one could trust. If only that was the case with other forms of housing. When we lost the ability to bring in the income at the rate we were used to, we lost the house and ended up renting privately. The first set of neighbours we had were fine, but when we had to move again into a Council property, that is when the horror began for the both of us.

On our first day in the flat, we were met by a man who told us from the start that he “will have quiet in these flats, no matter what.” He resembled a hideous version of Grant Mitchell from Eastenders and was just as intimidating. We did not realise at the time that he was issuing a set of standards with an “or else” warning but the attitude of the man, the blind ignorance, as well as arrogance personified, was just incomprehensible to behold.

As we settled into the flat, the noises started from below where he lived. The hypocrite was prepared to lay down rules and then do whatever he wanted. The problem with this is that when someone does that to me, it usually elicits a single and devastating response. I live my life in a simple fashion, just wanting to live my life peaceably but when someone endangers that standard of living, I do like to either join in or start moaning. I did the latter to the council, but got absolutely nowhere!

We suffered for eight long, laborious months. We tried to get the flat up to scratch and did a good job of it, laying carpets, hanging curtains and generally making it into a lovely little cave to dwell in, but before long, everything we did was wrong in this person’s eyes. No matter what we did, we were always in the wrong. He would intimidate my wife to the point where she became agoraphobic. Oh, it was alright for him to have his television on so we could hear every word clearly of the commentary below in the England v France game in the International Rugby Union match at Twickenham. The torrent of abuse was endless and eventually, we gave in and went back to renting privately.

We did this for two years and in each case, ended up with neighbours from hell. Living in Selby it seemed, was rapidly becoming a nightmare! And just after the moment I was told I was not required any more at work and was given my notice, the phone rang and the council said they had a flat for us, a permanent home, with a housing association in Selby. It was a new build, all mod cons and luxurious. Would we like to see it?

The timing was incredible. We knew we could not afford to live in privately rented accommodation any longer so we went and looked at it, taking it immediately. We moved in the January of 2009 and moved out in the November of 2012. Whilst there we were treated to abuse, both verbal and physical, being spat at, our car being vandalised, drugs being dealt on the estate that was so new it was labelled as ‘perfect’ for everyone and things stolen from communal areas. It was, in essence, two and a half years of hell and through all that time, the landlord did absolutely nothing even after numerous complaints.

Social housing it seems is as bad as council housing in the sense that the choice of tenants is not guided by anything but numbers and statistics. The council uses people off their list to fill the places for the housing association and in our case, the dregs of society ended up at the Chandlers in Selby, the estate where we lived. It just goes to prove that being neighbourly is an act of the will that is sadly lacking nowadays and that is such a sad indictment of the society in general that we live in. On this matter alone, do not get me started!

[750 words]

Should Social Networking Sites Be Banned?

After seeing this morning’s Higher tier paper and section B tasks, I was reminded of this from last year’s coursework. It seems that AQA have added a coursework idea into the exam this year. Interesting idea and I wonder if they will do the same next year? If so, then there may be something on how music has shaped your life so far [soundtrack of my life?].

With that in mind, here is a resource I used last year, with the link where it comes from. Enjoy!

http://dontgetmestarted-lindasharp.typepad.com/dont_get_me_started_with_/2012/02/facehooked.html

Facehooked!

It wasn’t that long ago when I took to this space and wrote about the batshit woman who set someone’s house on fire over a Facebook argument relating to party planning.

About a year ago I wrote about the toddler who drowned while his distracted mother played around on Facebook.  And another baby was shaken to death for daring to disrupt his mother’s turnip harvesting time by crying.

Look, I get it – Facebook is a playground full of distractions from an otherwise boring, stressful, unfulfilling life.  Racking up coins, piles of tomatoes, or dead vampire bodies certainly makes the time fly and life worth living.

But now comes the story of a double murder over – are you ready?  Stop harvesting for a moment and focus – a Facebook defriending.

Yes, two people lay dead –  Billy Clay Payne, Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth – bullets in their brains – because they dared to defriend the daughter of one of the killers. That daughter, poor Jenelle Potter, just couldn’t take the insult of being defriended and her pops came to her defence.

Let me stress that while Facebook is the new battleground in the bullying war, where middle schoolers with barely a pube on their crotches torment one another, and where high schoolers think every fart they fart is a diamond worth posting about – the people involved in this story ARE ADULTS. At least according to their birth certificates.

Jenelle – late 20s to early 30s – lives with her parents and is constantly on Facebook. Maybe that should read, Jenelle lives on Facebook while under the roof of her parents and her court record history is as long as my winning streak on Bejewelled.  All of it tied to complaints of her harassment of people who have defriended her.

Paging Mark Z – perhaps you could take a mome away from counting your billions to develop a way to permanently boot whack jobs like Jenelle from FB?  Surely, when access to your website causes a mental twig to snap and land someone in the legal arena, it’s time to block some ISPs?

The men who pulled the triggers – her father, Marvin Potter, 60, and a one-time suitor who pined for Jenelle’s affections, Jamie Curd, 38, have both been arrested and charged with the murders. According to folks in their Tennessee town, if you crossed the daughter, you paid for it with the father and mother.

“This Facebook thing was her whole life,” Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece said. “If you deleted her, they [Potter and her parents] started harassing you. If you ran into them in the grocery store, you had an altercation with them. It was an on-going thing with these people.” Saddest in all this (as if the patheticness of Jenelle and her parents isn’t enough), is that the 9 month son of Billie Jean and Billy Clay is now an orphan – found crying in his dead mother’s arms.

OVER A FACEBOOK DEFRIENDING.

The level of attachment and importance of that website in people’s lives is on display every minute of every day.  It runs from innocent connections and fun between friends/acquaintances to the almost pathological pursuit of attention.

OK, ok, kill the word “almost.”

And I am not talking about the once-in-a-blue-moon posting of something like “Sigh.”  Although that is absolutely intended to bring the support out in droves as people assault your wall with “What’s wrong?”  “Are you ok?”  “Can I kill someone for you?”

No, I am referring to the constant posting of every imagined slight, doctor’s appointment (where apparently EVERY doctor is an idiot and EVERY nurse is a Ratchet wannabe who hates you), boyfriend/girlfriend tiff, and the constant airing of seriously soiled laundry for the masses.

Honestly –  does the world need to view the skid marks of your personal familial interactions?  There is a messaging function on Facebook whereby you can communicate about your intense hatred for a relative without involving the rest of the world, or the object of the fiery red hate.  Or keep it confined to one another’s walls.  When you take it to the News Feed, there is a term for that: PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE.

As for being friended or defriended?  If you hang your adult hat and ego on how many friends you have on your Wall then your life needs an evaluation and if your wittle feewings cannot handle a defriending with grace and forward motion, then stop soliciting gifts in Yoville and seek counselling.