Facebook’s videos for me led off with Dancing Queen by ABBA, then something by Kid Rock, then Journey doing Wheel In The Sky, then a speech by Donald Trump. followed by another ABBA, Elton John singing Candle In The Wind, and Donald Trump again, this time with three rabbis.

What kind of fucked up algorithm am I trapped in?

Weirdos I may know

For a couple weeks now all the people Facebook thought I might know were deeply cleavaged babes of enormous pulchritude who would never, in fact, know me or admit they knew me. Today, suddenly, I am getting all these dangerous looking types the first of whom, either coincidentally, eerily or providentially, is a dead ringer for Rasputin. Either Facebook read my last post, or Zuckerberg is trying to tell me something. In any case, that is one fucked up algorithm.

Virtual chick magnet


I’m getting bombarded by ads on Facebook for women who want to marry me or date me or just fool around. And not only Facebook, it doesn’t matter what the website is I’m looking at, there’ll be ads with smiling ladies who want to marry me, right next to news about massacres and plagues and billionaires gone wild. It began as mostly Russian women but now the Chinese have joined in. There are a lot of lovely mature Chinese women looking for love, they tell me. They smile sweetly. My Facebook page shows me as married so I have no idea how I slipped into a lonely aging male database. Or an aging my wife doesn’t understand me database. Actually, though, I think they only want me for my money. But I don’t have any money, I’m a writer. And charm only goes so far.

Whatever happened to the charming Filipina girls who were dying to meet me? And for a while it was hot blooded Latina women, I remember. They looked fiery and exciting, but they must have gotten tired of waiting because it was back to the Filipinas soon enough. Filipinas are much more patient, apparently, than those hot blooded Latinas. In the meantime, though, I must have crossed some magic age line and now they’re all Russians and Chinese. No matter, I just went into Google and found a profile I didn’t know I had and put down my status as married. Way married. That should take care of all those girls. Now they don’t have to get all hot and bothered.

Keeping in touch

Just looking over my Linked In contacts, none of whom I have ever interacted with, and it occurred to me that I am incredibly bad at keeping in touch with people. Not with friends…I’ve had many of the same friends for decades. Friends I got. That’s not the problem. It’s the circles beyond friends that I can’t seem to maintain. For example, I spent 15 years working at Disney and loved it, knew all kinds of people I was very close to, almost none of whom I have bothered to keep in touch with at all. They reached out, too. I never bothered reaching back. And even the tiny handful I did keep in touch with I barely ever talk to. I spent ten years at US Borax before then and I don’t even remember the names. You are supposed to remember the names. And college? Forget it. High School? You have to be kidding. I can name scarcely a dozen people I went to high school with. Have seen maybe half a dozen since then. College is even worse. There were three roommates. Actually more than three, I just remember those three. I can’t even remember the name of the roommate who fronted me the bread so I could buy my first drum kit. I’m hoping I paid him back.

Then there’s the LA Weekly–I spent seven years there, had a big impact and have maintained connections with nobody. Not a one. Not deliberately, I just sort of dropped off that planet. All those readers, I just disappeared on them. Poof. Gone. In fact, I knew literally hundreds of people on the jazz scene, a lot of them extremely well, and I lost touch with nearly all of them. And jazz people, the musicians anyway, aren’t the easiest people to get to know. You have to prove your worth to earn their respect. Apparently I did. Then I dropped them all. I wrote a long beautiful email and disappeared. (I did that at Disney too.) And I lost touch with almost every single writer I was tight with then, that is my professional colleagues, and all the publicists. All the radio people and booking agents. Record company people. Promoters. Even the musicians. The whole scene. I remember actually purging my contact lists. I remember it felt good, somehow, liberating.

But this is not the way to function in a social media world. All these networks are vital. The people you worked with. The clients and colleagues. Maintaining those connections. Keeping in touch. Meeting new people. And the social media–Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google Plus and on and on. If you learn how to use those effectively you do well. Get gigs. Make money. Become influential. Why can’t I grasp these concepts? They seem simple enough. How do I explain this to myself?  Especially as I’m still doing what I’ve always been doing, still cutting myself off. Case in point: when Mark Zuckerberg told me Brick was a verboten name and I shut down my account rather than bend to His will, I lost contact with most of the people I knew on Facebook. Hundreds of them. I made a half-assed attempt to re-connect with some, and then forgot about it. I now have a Facebook account (I use my wife’s name) but a fraction of the Facebook connections I used to have. Which doesn’t seem to bother me in the least. What am I not getting here?

Maybe I need a social secretary. Back when I was at the Weekly I had a very good friend at Disney who wanted so bad to be my social secretary. Man, she would have been great at it. I mean perfect. A dream. She offered repeatedly. I never did take her up on it. Don’t know why.

Of course, that’s all moot now, since I’ve lost touch with her.



I’ve become fascinated with Facebook’s sense of time…it’s free of real time chronology….I keep seeing obituaries for people dead years ago, and news stories from the past get people outraged anew. You can will time, or more likely, Facebook wills you to accept whatever is posted as of the now, even if it isn’t. Time shifts suddenly, or it stops, or goes backwards, goes forward. Time hovers. Sometimes time disappears completely, and you’re looking into another universe where what was never was, string theory come to life. Done correctly, you can never die, or you can have died already, and we can all have your stuff. Combine this with all the fake news, and it’s all completely surreal. Take this post, for example, I wrote this three days ago next week, except I never wrote it, and it’s completely untrue. So there.


I’ve never taken a selfie. In fact I never take photos at all. I’m a writer, and there are rules about those things. I did take a selfie once, though, accidentally. But that was before selfies had been invented and I just deleted it. Had I known Facebook would also be invented I would have saved it, along with the cat pictures I took and would never admit I took. Those were deleted too. The fun thing about digital photography is the delete button.

I accidentally took a shoefie once, but shoefies still haven’t been invented so I deleted that one too. I once took an analog shoefie, however, and still have that one. There was no delete button then. All you could do was throw out the picture when you got it back from the Fotomat. But it was such a nice picture of a shoe I kept it. I’d put that uninvented shoefie right here, but it’s tucked away somewhere with a zillion other pictures of my past life and I don’t feel like looking for it right now. I’d see all that hair and I’d sigh and get all morbid and pensive. Nothing worse than a big guy gone pensive.

Like I said, I never take selfies. Look what happens.




Every time a prez or a pope visits Los Angeles, or a Michael Jackson dies, there are traffic jams for a couple hours.  Except now they get on Facebook and the whole world shrieks. Remember when Carmageddon was gonna end civilization as we know it?

It didn’t. 

I was just down on the prez’s motorcade route a bit a go and had no idea he’d even been there a couple hours earlier. Traffic was normal, the secret service all gone, and civilization remained. Even the birds flew.

I think in a decade or two Facebook and Twitter will stop controlling our thoughts and actions, and we’ll all start thinking again.

The 405 in the Sepulveda Pass. Sometimes it moves.




You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space — but any objections! 

Elwood P Dowd, Harvey 

Facebook exists outside of time. It’s like the past and present are one. A story ten years old will be posted and commented on as if it’s happening right now. Yesterday I saw a thirty year old story that people assumed was new. I politely pointed this out. The commenters didn’t see the point. Thirty years ago or now, it didn’t matter. Forget it Jake, it’s Facebook time.

I keep seeing hoaxes and urban myths reappear. They  invariably are believed, often by the same people who knew they were hoaxes years ago when they went around via email. But email was a different universe. Different laws of physics. Time was sequential then. Email was how we communicated on the Internet, and the Internet was virtual reality. It followed the rules of reality. There was a then and a now, and what was then could not suddenly be now. People noticed.

People don’t notice now. And even if they do, they don’t care. They just hit the Like button. There’s time and there’s the like button. Liking trumps temporal reality every time. Facebook is becoming a whole other reality, devoid of linear time, devoid of objective truth, devoid of any standards of accuracy whatsoever. People will believe anything they see, and whatever is posted becomes reality, though only in Facebook. You repeat a Facebook story at a party and somebody will go to Snopes and make you look stupid. Someone else will go to Wikipedia and make you look stupider. There’ll be an orgy of smartphone fact checking at your expense. You’re not on Facebook anymore. Reality is harsh, real time is linear, and people can be rude, cruel and brutally sarcastic. They laugh, you turn red and retreat into the security of your iPhone. At Brick’s party, you post, surrounded by a**holes.

Sometimes I think that the Internet made people much more informed than they had ever been, and Facebook is rendering us all stupid again. But then again, Facebook is nicer. Pleasant, even. No one  trolls, and no one’s an a**hole.

Years ago my mother used to say to me, “Elwood, in this world you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Elwood P Dowd, Harvey  



Critique of Pure Reason

There was a time when all jazz musicians did was party and chase women and blow amazing saxophone (or whatever.) Now they are smart and do this:

So I got to ask this..
Let’s say you are sitting under an oak tree, and there is a guy next to you, let’s say he’s reading a book…Suddenly, the tree sheds a branch, hitting him, but you are (miraculously?) unscathed..
Do you proclaim “God is great” “I am blessed” or variations on this theme (which I see a lot of here on good ol FB…)
And, equally importantly–what about the dude who is injured by the branch?
Did God decide he was a bad man?
You were better?
More blessed?
More worthy of not being pounded by a falling tree branch?
I am genuinely interested in hearing rational non reactive responses from at least relatively sane individuals.

Holy shit. That was Rufus Philpot, the real thing. A bassists’ bassist. People don’t talk through his bass solos. So his philosophical quandary was not something easily blown off. Not bad poetry from a singer songwriter poet with hair like the Flying Burrito Brothers. Not some kid writing in a journal in a dark corner at the Blue Whale, discussing tonality. Not a philosophy major like the editor who so got on my nerves instantly at the LA Weekly that I walked, Johnny Paycheck style. No, this is Rufus Philpot, a heavy. Not to mention with the rare ability among jazz musicians of writing well (he should be blogging those jazz album reviews of his, they’re beautiful.) But last night I gave several smart ass responses to this and forgot about it. But you can’t just forget about it on Facebook. The next day they stare at you again. Your comments, I mean. Sitting there. Glaring. No wonder everyone is so mewly nice on Facebook. No wonder that everyone writes as if their grandmother is reading everything they post. No wonder it’s so Mr. Rogersesque. Because you can’t escape. You write the wrong thing–OK, the way wrong thing, like bragging about Hitler or something–and all virtual humanity will loathe you, make you miserable, cost you your job, and weird if beautiful women with a thing about losers will want you. Of course if you write something no one noticed nothing of the sort will happen. But it’s my blog, so I will exaggerate–well,lie–and say everyone noticed and you will probably keep reading anyway, waiting for the punchline.

But back to Mr. Philpot’s quandary:

I’d say it was just a tree branch that was ready to fall off–eucalyptus, probably, they do that, I saw one smash a Volkswagen once–and Mr. Philpot was in the right place and the guy reading Critique of Pure Reason was also in the just right place, but at the wrong time. So what’s to do but dial 911 and see if he’s breathing.

I say that now. But last night I came home from three hours of Bruce Forman and gave acerbic, misanthropic responses for which I am truly ashamed. I said that God hated that arrogant book reading motherfucker…He does that, for no reason. And then later I said that it was the guy’s fault for pissing off God in the first place. I told another lady that if she stood on her head and coughed it would get her high. There were more, too, on Facebook, on Twitter, in email. In my blog. I was making vicious fun of everything. I felt possessed by Ambrose Bierce. Had I lived near the beach I would have slipped an insulting note into a bottle and tossed it into the sea. My wife finally bopped me on the head and told me to cool it. This is what happens when you hang around jazz musicians. My mama done told me.

Of course, this mea culpa itself might be yet a further extension of cynical misanthropism. A nightmarish gyre of irony. I’m a writer, and embittered old jazz critic and we get like that. It’s all those solos. They screw up the head. I was a nice guy when I did my thesis on Peter, Paul and Mary. Oh well. But that anyone who does read Critique of Pure Reason is asking for it, you Kant deny.

I’ve never read Critique of Pure Reason. For one thing I was not smart enough. One paragraph in and I knew that. For another thing, I had a life. You can spend years on a tome like that, and by the time you finish you’d have none of your old friends left, though some very irritating new ones. And I was gonna say you can’t get laid reading Critique of Pure Reason but actually that is not true. I discussed this in a previous essay. Had I known the truth, I would have changed majors. But what, then, is Truth? The truth is I dropped out of college, joined a punk rock band and got laid instantly. I was the drummer, and came out on stage that first gig and warmed up using logs for sticks. That’s all it took. That’s the Truth. Epistemology didn’t even come into it. And while I know the jazz musicians among you won’t understand the logs thing, this was the late seventies. Two words: “Disco Monk”. And that was Sonny Rollins. Logs for drumsticks, Disco Monk, thrift stores full of abandoned pet rocks. It was an ugly time.

OK. Daylight Savings Time is over and I’m thoroughly confused. To make it worse I saved up the last twenty years of Daylights Savings Time and used it all at once so now it’s sometime next Tuesday. You don’t fuck with the calendar. I wish someone had told me.

The dawn of post-consciousness

Sometimes Facebook seems like a giant lobotomy. Everyone seems so much less intelligent. We aren’t, really, you meet us in real life and we’re smart as ever. But you read us on Facebook and you wonder where all the IQ went. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s Facebook etiquette. Obscenity, rudeness and critical thinking are faux pas. Kitty pictures, what we ate for breakfast and believing every post we see no matter how ridiculous are good things.

Hopefully this is just a phase we’re going through. That awkward, gullible stage. Internet adolescence. If not, then maybe this is the dawn of the post-consciousness age. There was a mighty civilization here once, they’ll say, and then there was Facebook.