Archive for Blogorrhea

Missing in action

For years and years, Christopher Johnson ran something called Midwest Conservative Journal, based in St. Louis County, Missouri, which did lots of political/cultural material, with special emphasis on what he saw as the Church of England’s degradation into just another leftist outfit.

The last time Johnson posted anything was right before Christmas. I’m starting to worry.

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Let there be torque

Erin Palette, celebrating her tenth anniversary here in blogdom, is still plenty fast with a quip:

On a related note, I’d like be the first to announce that the transgender version of Uncle Tom is an Aunt Dorothy, and the transgender version of “House Negro” is “Performance Tranny.” I figure that if I’m going to be called names for going off-narrative, I might as well pick those names myself.

Oh, and before you ask, I’m a 4:11 final drive, with a 6-speed double-overdrive and a competition clutch.

May her throwout bearing never need to be thrown out.

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I didn’t even notice

But Warren Meyer did:

For some reason, WordPress has removed the underline button in the editor. I can bold, and italicize, but not underline for some reason. I have zero idea why there was such a burning need to eliminate this pretty basic feature of an editor. I suppose I can go in and manually add in html codes, but why bother with an editor if I have to do that kind of cr*p.

Evidently it’s been so long since I felt the need to underline that the disappearance of the button didn’t draw my attention at all.

That said, almost any deficiency in WordPress can be addressed in some way or another, and usually it’s via plugin, which it is here.

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A decade and a half

Our reader — and our friend — Fillyjonk has completed 15 years of this crazy avocation:

Back when I started in the heady days of knitblogging, I thought, “You know, maybe I’ll have legions of fans. Maybe I’ll even get a book deal. Maybe I’ll be FAMOUS!”

Well, I suppose God gives you what you actually need, sometimes: I’d hate fame, because with fame would come scrutiny and critics and trolls and all of that attendant ugliness.

“Fame is a vapor,” said Horace Greeley; “popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.”

And FJ proves this almost every single day.

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Not all that red

The Z Man rather hilariously dismisses the site known as Red State:

Red State is a website that was originally started as sort of a “conservative” alternative to the left-wing blogosphere. I put quotes there because Red State’s brand of conservatism has always been the housebroken type of stuff popular on the Bush wing of the GOP. Like a lot of so-called conservatives in the Bush years, Red State was basically just a cheering section for the Republicans. Whatever Team Bush proposed, Red State branded as “Reaganesque” and “principled conservatism,” especially if it meant killing Muslims.

That probably sounds harsh, but I’m just getting started. Serial plagiarist Ben Domenech, pen for hire Joshua Trevino and the portly proselytizer Erick Erickson saw an opportunity to promote themselves, and maybe lever their popularity with conservative voters, into the careers they thought they deserved. The whole point of Red State was to ball-gargle the establishment, hoping to turn their obsequious rumpswabbery into a Jonah Goldberg lifestyle. The three of them are emblematic of what went wrong with conservatism.

I do love the sound of “obsequious rumpswabbery.”

(About that “plagiarism” charge against Domenech: a New York Times story describing it.)

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Worst titles of 2016

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An off-pitch pitch

Received in email this past week:

Hello,

Love what you’re doing on www.dustbury.com

I was checking out your site today and found this guest post you published. I’d love to be your next guest author.

I’ve been some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from:

• Best Winter Chore Clothes for Homesteaders
• 10 Winter Outfit Ideas for Women

Now what do you think are the chances that she actually saw the most recent guest post here, which was put up ten years ago and isn’t even part of the current WordPress database?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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Note for future reference

If you write to tell me I have a broken link somewhere, thank you, and I will fix it when I get around to it.

And if I choose not to use the link you suggest, you have no recourse.

You got that, WhoIsHostingThis? After the third time, you got a permanent place in the spam filter, all to yourselves.

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Usage notes

“Vaughan,” the new WordPress 4.7, broke my ancient comment-preview screen, apparently permanently.

Tell me what you think of the replacement. (It’s been here before.)

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We few, we easily mocked

Lee Ann defends her avocation, and mine:

Some people, most of them “serious” writers, declared blogging to be a stillbirth, strangled on its own self-referential umbilical. Recent critics have decided blogging is the retarded cousin that doesn’t get to come to the family reunions because it always tries to bathe in the potato salad. They recommend Farcebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, all the better to take hold of social media’s throat and force that content down.

That way, they proclaim from their mountaintop, you can better monetize your content.

The last person who deserved to use the word “monetize” was Dorothy Parker: “The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘check enclosed’.” Those half a million feebs hoping to make a living off recycled jokes on YouTube? Not so much.

But what if you aren’t writing for money? (I have just peed myself laughing at the very idea of getting PAID to do this. Excuse me, wardrobe change.)

What if you’re writing for sanity retention? (And now the idea of “sanity” has once again soiled my delicates.)

Is blogging for the sake of just getting things out of the dirty old psyche and into the cleansing light of day a valid reason to keep on? Well, it’s certainly cheaper than professional therapy and less couch-dependent. On the other hand, for the most part, you’re talking to yourself. That is the kind of thing that usually gets you sent to the shrink, not deters the trip. Still, it’s more fun, because psychiatric professionals don’t come with templates and ways to change the color of the font.

Well, actually, they do have templates, only they call them “case histories.”

And the font color first has to want to change.

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Archive-diving

Apparently I’m not the only person who combs through the backstory on this site:

…searching my own comments in blogosphere, as a reminder to myself [“oh, where did I said something like this before?!”], I found this amusing exchange.

Things got a hair heated, but hey: three dozen comments. Rare in the context of this place.

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When help is no help

Roger Green, blocked from his own site:

[T]his will be my blog home until I get http://www.rogerogreen.com fixed, if I can. My provider says THEY can see my blog and people they know can, but I cannot, my friends cannot, in New Zealand to England to Canada.

The problem is, I am told, on my end. I’ve cleaned out cookies, cleaned out my cache, run a computer cleaning product, rebooted my computer (multiple times), rebooted my router (twice), and none of this has helped.

And I’m not enough of a techie to understand why it would anyway.

This is what was happening, as formatted for a phone:

rogerogreen.com after bad host configuration

How desperate was this man? He wrote me for help.

Then again, this was tech support’s response to him:

Its fixable its on your end, the site your being redirected too is a DNS switcher it uses your cookies to redirect you…

Download CCleaner check all the options but wipe free space and run it!

Once you run it once re-do it again one more time. Shut down and reboot your laptop or pc.

Then access your website./ blog

As you see by the screen caps rose and I can both see your blog.

If you look at the dns url its ww2.dns then your url something, once you hit that page it changes your cookies permission like hijacking your browser, so when you try and re-access your blog url it will always redirect you back to them

That’s why, once you clear your cookies you will be good. CCleaner will clear your cookies and history files…

Which doesn’t explain how it got to this condition in the first place. Best guess from this end: they screwed up the configuration at their end and failed to fix it in a timely manner.

Anyway, I flushed the local DNS cache, switched to Internet Explorer (!), dialed up the site, and waited for the new cookie to overwrite the old one. Success!

I duly passed this solution onward, and things have now returned to normal. But poor, unsuspecting bloggers should not be subjected to this sort of technical abuse.

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No longer participating

John Ray can only fill in for so long at Interested-Participant:

I am now totally out of touch with Mike Pechar, owner of this blog. So I have no idea about when he might resume posting, if ever he does. My best guess from what I know is that he has gone blind.

I have tried to keep the blog going for him but it has got too much for me. I put up six blogs of my own six days a week so my energies are already pretty stretched.

At the very least.

We’re following John to A Western Heart; he’s also running Tongue Tied 3.

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This will be the day that I die

Well, not me, probably not today. (That said, you should probably consider me at least marginally suicidal for the duration.) But I’m wondering if there’s an accepted protocol for one’s Last Post Ever — or if it’s better just to let things grind to a halt. I’ve been on both sides of the issue at various times; now I’m just confused.

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A Colossus lost

I got the word this afternoon from Brickmuppet:

Steven Den Beste has passed away.

I just received word from Steven’s brother, graciously thanking me for making the welfare call to the police and confirming that what many of us feared had indeed come to pass. I did not inquire as to specifics, but Steven had been in very poor health of late, having had a stroke just under four years ago.

SdB was one of the pillars of the blogosphere, almost from Day One:

Steven was brilliant, a former engineer with a crackerjack mind. His old blog, U.S.S. Clueless was tremendously important in the early days of the blogosphere. It is hard to overstate the importance of U.S.S. Clueless and the brilliance of his analysis. Sadly, that site went down this past week as well, when Steven’s server failed. That site was immensely influential to many of us, and I am far from the only person he inspired to blog or helped along.

Worse, he was about my age, which reminds me — as though I needed reminding — of my own fragility.

Something to remember him by? How about this, from 11 September 2012?

I always thought that attacking an embassy was considered an act of war. But 1980 seems to have established a new precedent: if a Democrat is President, then Muslim mobs may despoil American embassies as much as they wish. Once a Republican gets elected, then they lay off.

Our hostages in Tehran were released a few hours before Reagan was sworn in. If Romney manages to defeat Obama in November, will we see something of the same happen next January?

Well, even if it does, it won’t bring that man back to life. Not even The One, for all his assumed divinity, can do that. (Stopping the rise of the oceans is easy by comparison.)

If only we could bring that man back to life.

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A narrow-ish niche

The general reaction to “toe cleavage” in these parts has suggested a link, which I’ve had sitting around the browser for a while but haven’t used much.

Behold (or don’t): The Toe Cleavage Blog, which is a “blog dedicated to the overlooked and unappreciated partial exposure of the female foot known as toe cleavage.”

Since some of you will consider this too horrible to behold, I’m claiming credit for anti-clickbait. (And if curiosity is killing you, well, you can click on this.)

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A sort of milestone

A snapshot of the WordPress dashboard:

20,000 Posts

Actually, that was taken yesterday, so now it’s slightly more than twenty thousand posts.

This particular database begins in September 2006, so it includes the last ten years — though obviously not the first ten years.

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It seems all too reasonable

Cristina asks herself: “Why, 6 years later, am I still blogging about shoes?”

[T]he simple answer is: even though I’ve deviated from the daily stiletto-wearing lifestyle and have zero time (or energy) for schmoozing at media events, I do love blogging and am still very much in love with shoes.

There are, I understand, women who wear stilettos every day, though I don’t know any.

Although, working at my desk all day, I usually remain shoe-less. No, the irony isn’t lost on me.

I admit to wondering on occasion if brand-name fashion bloggers like Chiara Ferragni or Wendy Nguyen ever sit around in a T-shirt and jeans.

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Other theaters of engagement

Everybody hates spam. For all I know, even spammers hate spam; telemarketers (spammers with dial equipment) are probably not happy when I call them out on Twitter. However, I seem to get less of it than most. From the WordPress dashboard here:

Akismet has protected your site from 40,195 spam comments already. There’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment.

Now this is a low-volume sort of site, with 250-350 visitors a day. I’d expect someone with twice the traffic to get at least twice the spam, maybe more. But this kind of floors me:

[T]he cleanup of spam … initially involves deleting the contents of the spam filter. You’ll understand how important that filter is when I tell you that I delete about 10,000 spam comments a day. Spam must be profitable in gaming the Google algorithm, or whatever the goals are, because it has proliferated in recent years to a point that would be completely overwhelming without the spam filter.

Then again, I have one more tool at my disposal: a plugin that bans spamming IPs, a whole bank at a time if need be. It’s not 100-percent reliable — there are always ways to sneak past a barrier — but I’ve denied entry to approximately 1.2 million would-be spammers.

Still, 1.2 million, for someone getting ten thousand a day, is barely four months’ worth.

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In which a hat is tipped

And for good reason, too:

The previous post was #3,000 for this here blog, which makes me a “millitriathlete” of running my mouth.

Not even going to try to come up with a comparable term for this place.

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Dying off the vine

The era of the Lone Blogger, says once and possibly future Lone Blogger Arthur Chrenkoff, is over and done with:

In line with the trend towards “magazination” of blogging, one recent survey by Orbit Media Studios has found that “the typical length for a post is about 900 words, up 100 words from last year’s survey.” When you are competing with “normal” media outlets, you need to try matching both quality and quantity. Blogging used to be called citizen journalism, but citizen or not, it had to become a lot more professional.

(Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes: “InstaPundit turns 15 in two months.”) Then again, Reynolds has help these days; still, I’d bet he turns out more than 900 words a day, even if it’s spread over several posts.

Come to think of it, I generally turn out more than 900 words a day, albeit spread over several posts. And this place turns 15 on, um, 9 April 2011.

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I shouldn’t worry about this

Then again, what’s the point of collecting statistics if you’re not going to look at them?

Six weeks or so ago, I had 1,450 subscribers to some feed or other, according to the little gizmo that counts them. This was the peak; the number began shrinking the next day, and bottomed out at 502 before rebounding. (It’s currently floating around 920; 750 of them are basically taking the entire blog feed, while the rest are subscribed to individual threads.)

I’d break this down further, but I’d probably wind up finding that I have only nine actual readers, and two of them are out of town.

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Material expectations

On the 11th anniversary of the day he joined the Halls of Blogdom, Roger observed:

As you know, I often write ahead in my blog, but, because of annoying things, such as LIFE, the number of posts in the queue is down significantly, 36% from the peak. This means that one of these days, I’m going to wake up, realize I have no post prepared, and will scurry around looking for a picture of one of my cats.

I daresay, this is not terrible. Note the decline here in actual publication numbers:

  • 2006: 2,126
  • 2007: 2,021
  • 2008: 2,063
  • 2009: 2,123
  • 2010: 2,056
  • 2011: 1,978
  • 2012: 1,920
  • 2013: 1,874
  • 2014: 1,909
  • 2015: 1,920

This is not a precipitate decline, exactly, but the 2,000 mark constitutes a psychological barrier, one I haven’t been able to surpass in some time. (You might want to keep in mind that Roger writes long-form stuff: two thousand from me might equal maybe four hundred from him.)

And at least he has cats, which are always welcomed on the Web.

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The book of (smaller) numbers

I’ve heard this particular plaint before, but seldom as eloquently:

When I started blogging, The Truth Laid Bear blogging ecosystem was kind of fading; Technorati was a going enterprise and Sitemeter was hot. Over the years, Technorati turned its attention elsewhere, or maybe just off, and Sitemeter eventually decided that loading obtrusive adware was the way to monetize. Tam moved to StatCounter and I followed soon after.

At one time, I looked at the numbers daily. Any more, every few weeks is often enough.

There’s a definite downward trend. I don’t pay the five bucks a month to save stats forever, so I only have about a year, but it’s got a slope. Eventually, it’ll be like it was back in the beginning, just me and some web-crawlers from search engines, maybe a friend stopping by every so often.

I will never understand what happened to Technorati, but I figure any operation that can say something like this with a straight face is doomed:

Within our network, we help website publishers maximize their advertising revenue without having to worry about the complications of the ever-shifting advertising marketplace so they can get back to making the awesome content that we all consume every day.

This, even more than an executive search, proves that Dave Sifry is gone. And I object in principle to the idea that what I do here is produce “content” for “consumption,” like I’m some extruded-food distributor in Secaucus, New Jersey.

I admit that my numbers, like everyone else’s numbers, are down: 800 a day a decade ago, 300 a day today. Then again, I had about 50 people taking some form of feed, usually RSS, back then. Today it’s over a thousand, and has been as high as 1400. Yeah, it fluctuates. What in nature doesn’t? And if I’m no longer a TTLB Large Mammal, I’m happy with my state of cellular development.

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An example to follow

I would never, ever tell you that you really ought to blog the way I do. (Okay, I did reveal the trade secret just once.) But I am happy to endorse this particular advice:

You should blog like future employers have no idea how Google works. And by that I don’t mean that you should post nude pictures of yourself online. Never do that. Unless your last name is Kardashian, and then I think it will actually work out in your favor. But you should write what you feel and what you believe. Don’t worry about whether or not it jives with the view of a potential employer. I spent a lot of time blogging that way, and I can tell you that that way lies madness.

If you find yourself doing something that you don’t like, go ahead and delete it all. Some time last year I hit a wall, and deleted almost all of my blog posts. I did this because those posts didn’t feel like me. I realized I was writing a completely different blog. And since having deleted those posts and starting over, I’m averaging more page views, my social media interaction is up, and I’m proud of what I’ve put out there. When all the web gurus tell you to be authentic, they aren’t kidding. Just do it. Be real, and blog about what you want to write about.

And if your last name is Kardashian, what the heck are you doing here?

Seriously, this is what I think of as good advice. My boss reads this stuff on occasion, but I have no reason to think anything I say here has precipitated any corner-office discussion. (It helps that I’m somewhere below nowhere on the corporate org chart.) I haven’t deleted much stuff here over the years, but there’s not a whole lot here that doesn’t sound like me either.

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It was twenty years ago today

The Bird, circa 1997I’m just as amazed as you are: this Web site was actually founded on 9 April 1996, and at the time, all of it would fit on a 3.5-inch floppy. (Okay, not a 720k 3.5-inch floppy, but let’s not get technical here.) I’m declaring an open thread for the day; however, I am not actually going to take the day off, because, well, I just don’t do that sort of thing. I never figured this place would last this long. Then again, I never really figured I would last this long, and we know how well that worked out.

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Imagine the directory structure

At any given moment, I have several side projects going, though “going” implies a destination, and many of those destinations may never be reached.

This is because I am not as organized as those people who can describe the whole process far in advance:

Caffeine –> Idea –> Caffeine –> Boredom –> Caffeine –> Another Idea –> More Caffeine –> Idea For Something I Think Is Hysterically Funny –> Execution of Something NOT Funny Because I Quickly Decided That My Hysterically Funny Idea Was Really Not Very Funny –> Caffeine –> Think About Disappointing My Five Readers –> Make That Four –> More Caffeine –> Feel Bad About Not Achieving Anything Or Writing A Book –> Side Project Executed But May Never Be Shown To Anyone –> Caffeine –> Repeat.

Dissolute soul that I am, I get bogged down somewhere in the vicinity of “Execution of Something NOT Funny.”

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Among the OGs

Francis W. Porretto remembers Steven Den Beste:

One of the early pioneers of blogging, Steven Den Beste, became well known for a number of reasons. One of them was his dislike of any reader feedback, however delivered. His site didn’t permit comments, and he became famous for repeatedly pleading with his readers not to write to him. Those pleas weren’t always heeded.

Den Beste was/is — I have no idea whether he’s still on the sunny side of the sod — an intelligent and accomplished man. For some time he indulged in the expression of his opinions about a wide variety of things here on the Web, even though his ROI appeared to be decidedly negative. Moreover, he would occasionally take up cudgels with those who disagreed with him: a strenuous undertaking that’s seldom brought anyone any meaningful gain.

He quit this madness after a few years. There were several reasons, but one was undoubtedly that he was unable to express himself without getting feedback he didn’t want to cope with. Those of us who valued his thinking and writing mourned the loss.

I am pleased to report that SDB is still on this side of the grass, running something called chizumatic.mee.nu. It is decidedly less Calculated to Outrage than USS Clueless ever was — and comments are open!

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One of those minor milestones

I have no reason to assume he was actually looking at it, but McGehee would have been the first person to be able to see this little callout over in the sidebar last night:

Fifty thousand comments

And actually, that’s 50,000 just since September 2006, after the first Movable Type database was closed down and all the posts converted to static pages. (The second one was successfully imported into WordPress two years later.) So this figure includes the last two years of MT and all the years of WP; there are about five years of comments — 17,000 or so — which are not included in this count.

Before you ask: of those fifty thousand, about 9200 were written by me. And I have no idea if this little gadget, not formally a widget, is capable of six digits. Maybe we’ll know in ten years.

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Down at the heels

It’s probably a safe bet that we are never, ever going out together. If we did, I would of course take a look at your shoes, but otherwise they play no role other than transportation appliance and/or cultural artifact.

There are, inevitably, people with more prurient interests in that realm, and Cristina, who writes a shoe blog, is weary of them:

I have some amazingly engaged & supportive followers on Twitter that possibly sway towards a quasi-unwholesome shoe loving direction. But they know where to draw the line when it comes to my PG-13 rated shoe blog talking about shoes within the context of fashion, not fetish. The others get blocked.

I did leave her this comment:

On the subject of pervs, I sympathize: in at least some of the circles in which I operate, the mere fact that I can distinguish between styles invites suspicion. (“Why would you even know that?”)

Then again, I’ve been hit with that question so many times that I’ve had to resort to “Why would I not?” as a response.

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