“Like” this – My Facebook All-stars

Now, however, my day starts with a Facebook update, mostly so I can make smartass remarks for friends’ posts but also so I can get a sense of what’s on the minds of people near and far. It’s a highly efficient, one-dimensional look into other people’s lives on one level; on another, a vital connection to far-flung people and places that matter a great deal to me.
My Facebook universe always threatens to shrink, given my predilection for wise-ass comments and edgy, critical posts. After my smarmy remark about about the French disdain for California wines, for example, I suspect that I’ll feel the sting of the “Unfriend” button by Paris’s own Olivier Corneloup. I know from his Facebook posts that Olivier is a hopelessly chronic insomniac and thus I can be assured that he is reading this right now.
Ever the cutting edge tecchy, I herein present a summary of Why I Love Facebook (“Like,” I guess, would be more appropriate), in the form of my Facebook First Team Allstars. Names, locations and details follow.
Megan Ranney, Sara Lunt, Corinne Cohen (Rhode Island, western Mass., Switzerland, respectively)  – A guy never had nicer nieces and they’ve done a great job with Facebookitems about their new offspring –  four of whom I have met to meet (it’s been a prolific spell in our family) – by posting photos, comments and sharing the hell out of the ebb and flow of familial goings-on. 
Ramon Stoppelenburg (The Flicks Movie House, Phnom Penh, and I strongly suspect part time on Planet Xork)  – Phnom Penh’s mighty marketing wizard and all-around good guy (does Ramon ever say no? No, at least not within my earshot) gets my nod for the wackiest, least predictable, laugh-out-loud postings. High grades for goofiness. His postings are often glimpses of what goes on between his ears all the time, which is scarier than a slasher double feature as his comfy movie house.
Noel Lindquist (Thailand for now, gawd knows what’s next) – Noel posts truths that most people dance around peppered with invective and f-bombs. Always a great read. Always makes you think. Except for the one about working out in a Thai gym, which just made me laugh.
Hiawatha Bray (tech reporter, Boston Globe) – Hiawatha seems to have mastered a filter to find interesting stuff about fascinating people, situations and trends. I always learn from his posts, which most often rank high on my “Holy Shitometer“.
Serena Erhlich (Los Angeles) – I know more about Serena’s life now than I did when she occupied the office three down the corridor from me. It that a good thing? For the most part, yes indeed. Would love to read more about the love life, though. (Unlike. Just kidding.)
Emily Yetter (Los Angeles) – I never knew about the game FlipCup until her castmates Lee Turnbull and Heidi Buehler showed us the video clip of the US-British cast FlipCupSmackdown beerfest while Peter Pan was in Chicago. I am now informed and illuminated, and even more proud of my daughter’s many talents than ever before.
Kirsty Yetter (western Mass). – For her ability to generate more “love yous!” and “miss yous!” than anyone else among my paltry 372 friends despite her chronic absence fromFacebook and general disdain for technology. Cross-cultural, retro woman that she is, Kirsty has pioneered mastery of the off button on electronics. I think she’s allergic to them – maybe that’s why she breaks or loses digital cameras like my wife dispenses with sunglasses.
Gabi Yetter (asleep in the next room) – No one spreads the love more, posts pictures of kittens, slogans and generally “likes” everything, than my amazing wife. She is also a masterful Facebook multitasker, posting link after blog post, sharing good stuff worthy of a look and possessing a Facebook filter that spares the BS while sharing interesting items. She is the dessert of Facebook, in my view.
Joel Tesch (North Carolina, close to where Duke plays basketball ) – OK, so that’s a good-natured dig on Joel’s love of the UNC Tar Heels (this is a guy who named his daughter Carolina, fer cryin‘ out loud), but this guy shares top bill of Top Art award for his fascinating, colorful and beautifully crafted oil paintings. Despite his questionable taste in college hoops teams, he is a world class dad, husband, friend and general good guy and also one helluvan artist. Shares this award with…
Caroline Said Lawrence (Malta) – Caroline is Gabi’s long-lost cousin. Her still life/scene paintings are calming, gentle, soft-toned glimpses into Mediterranean life and culture. Along with Joel’s work, I would proudly and happily hang her paintings in my home and never grow bored with it.
Danny Said (Australia) – Another of Gabi’s long-lost cousins whom we met in Ho Chi Minh City a month ago and who keeps in touch on Facebook. Sent me a message viaFacebook last week pointing out that the Syracuse University women’s lacrosse team was leading Northwestern in the national finals. They lost, but Danny wins for his global awareness of Important Sporting Events. I think he’ll come in handy during the busy baseball/football/hockey season confluence in the fall.
Barrie Barru Evans (London etc.) – For posting photos of schmanzy guitars slugged with the simple tagline “Guitar Porn” and for keeping me posted on former rockers’ deaths around the world. Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Doc Watson – I learned about their passings from Barrie’s links. Also gets the award for posting photos of half-quaffed beers most frequently, which I suppose is a byproduct of his servitude as a road warrior shuttling the Three Diva Tour around the world.
Heather Coombe (South Africa) – Don’t know her, never met her, but an old friend of Gabi who apparently spends the majority of her time playing “Farmville” and otherFacebook games professionally. I also know nothing of the game and look forward to not playing it. Heather seems like a sweetie, though, and so I carefully chronicle her latest successes while watching Sox games on ESPN.com.
Karen Reynolds (Boston), Colleen Robb (Seattle), Mike Mulcahy (New York) and many, man others – For posting updates and photos about their kids without going overboard and becoming syrupy and fawning. All score low on the “Bleccch!” Meter, which is a very, very good thing. 
There’s a second list in the making, of course, which consists of people who have annoyed, bored or offended me into “UnFriending them”, but I’m not wasting my time to write about them or their many serious flaws. First, mom always taught me the Goodness Pledge: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Besides that, why bother? Such a list probably wouldn’t reach the eyes of its targets: most of my family and friends will see the link to this post on Facebook