June Rambling: an atheist’s prayers, and stillness of the soul

101 Ways to Say “Died” that appeared in early American epitaphs

Useful phrases for the surveillance state.

Long-lost diary of Nazi racial theorist and Hitler confidant recovered.

George Takei remembers the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, which included himself.

Why three states dumped major private prison company in one month. I’ve long been suspicious of private prisons with them “extracting guarantees of 100 percent occupancy.”

Cereal bigotry, Arthur’s response to the Cheerios ad controversy.

SamuraiFrog feels this is the most eloquent and exact statement about fat-shaming ever. And Lefty’s wanting to shake his disease.

Gay Men, Male Privilege, Women, And Consent.

In the literally OMG category: Christian Domestic Discipline… is a movement that seeks to carry out God’s will. “Which specific plan of God’s? Oh, you know, just that all women obey their husbands fastidiously — a dynamic that CDD thinks is best maintained through doling out corporal punishments.”

An atheist’s prayers.

Awkwardneϟϟ, Ken Jennings at his son’s elementary school for the annual “Festival of the Famous.”

Astronomy Picture of the Day: June 18 – A Supercell Thunderstorm Over Texas.

Steve Bissette Working On A Book About Alan Moore, Asks People To Publish His 1963 Stories Online For Free.

Meryl expands on the New York Times Magazine, “Who Made That?” article.

American and British pronunciation of Spanish (loan) words.

How Bugs Bunny saved Mel Blanc’s life.

Shooting Parrots likes to write about roguish folks you’ve never heard of – I’VE never heard of – such as Eugène François Vidocq and Ignáz Trebitsch-Lincoln. Interesting stuff.

To Parents of Small Children: Let Me Be the One Who Says It Out Loud.

Mark Evanier on the wealthy Zukors, the sweet but terrified Stearns, and his compassionate father, who worked for the IRS, part 1 and part 2.

My buddy and former neighbor Diana’s Lean In story.

Melanie: harp lessons, Italian rain, and traveling the world from home. Also, how stillness is a quality of the soul.

I wrote Love and cheating, and what I don’t understand.

Little by little things are disappearing from my house.

According to IMDB, Richard Matheson wrote 16 episodes of the TV show Twilight Zone, which included the “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” segment that was also used in the Twilight Zone movie.

101 Ways to Say “Died” that appeared in early American epitaphs.
to me

There’s a great new documentary out called 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. The movie is about backup singers – those incredibly talented musicians who you rarely hear about but are on all your favorite records. Coming to the Spectrum in Albany on July 5 – I WILL see it.

How a maudlin song became a children’s classic.

Great Coverville podcast honoring Cyndi Lauper, who won a Tony AND turned 60 this month; oh, I might have suggested it. Dustbury celebrates as well.

I’ve been ear wormed by Our State Fair, the opening song from the 1962 film ‘State Fair’, not a great movie, but the first non-kiddie film I ever saw.

In honor of summer, a visual representation of The Rite of Spring.

Tom Lehrer singing about The Elements, then and THEN.

K-Chuck radio: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and cover songs and songs about Superman.

And speaking of the guy from Krypton: Superman was promoted at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. But who played him? It is a mystery! Also, Original ‘Superman’ Co-Star Interrupts ‘Man of Steel’ Conversation in Movie Theater Restroom.

The Dream: The Compliant, Yet Angry Consumer

Trashing the place IS some wish fulfillment from some retail experiences I’ve gone through.

Here is a dream so vivid that I had to get out of bed at 4:10 a.m. to write it down:

I’m at an outdoor market with my sister Leslie. Some saleswoman is trying to sell me eyeglasses. I wasn’t really in the market, but I reluctantly try on a pair. It was quite different from what I usually wear, as they were a bit heavier, but they looked nice, and I decide to buy them. As I’m about to have the sale rung up, I see the computer tablet she’s working on. Somehow she has gotten into the editing section of my blog and has written, “Hey guys, these are my current glasses” with a picture of that. “And these are the glasses I’m thinking about wearing. They are a little bit heavier, but I like them. What do you think?” And there’s a picture of THAT. I say, in a very even tone, “I’m not very happy about that,” pointing to her tablet. Then I make the purchase with some guy as she goes away, but she leaves her tablet on the counter.

I walk behind the counter, get into her tablet, and delete the offending post. Then I take my left hand and, one by one, start throwing can goods (can goods?) down a hill behind the stand, speaking as evenly as I possibly muster. “I don’t think you people understand how upset I am about this invasion of privacy.” Then I take my left arm [I’m right-handed, BTW] and knock over a whole counter’s worth of stuff down that same hill. “THAT is how angry I am. I don’t think you understood. I hope you get it now.”
***
Now that even-tempered rage I’ve seen in me. But why, after I was upset with my privacy being violated – not to mention how this total stranger so quickly hacked into my blog – would I have bought the glasses? Loss of privacy is a constant concern; I’ll share what I like, thank you, which is quite a bit, I think. Trashing the place IS some wish-fulfillment from some retail experiences I’ve gone through, such as the time I walked into a particular store on the corner of Washington and Lark in Albany and was immediately, and without subtlety, being watched as a potential thief. That store is long gone – there’s a Subway there presently – but it really ticked me off at the time.

ARA: Getting serious about blogging

You should comment on other people’s blogs. Find some bloggers who write about things you’re interested in, preferably ones with a few, or a couple dozen comments, rather than a several hundred.

I get this IM after I went to bed a few nights ago from a friend of mine: As I’m thinking of it… at some time I would like to get your thoughts about becoming serious with my blogging. I haven’t put much out there in terms of attracting a following and now it’s something I want to consider at the very least.

My stock answer is, “How the heck do I know?”

That said, the way to become serious about blogging is to actually do it. I don’t mean you have to write something every day – only a crazy person, or someone with far more time on his hands than you do, would consider THAT. Two or three times a week, regularly and consistently, though, would be nice.

Write about what you think, you feel. Let your voice come through. Most people can tell when you’re lying. And by this, I don’t mean you have to give up any semblance of privacy. Good fiction tells greater truths, sometimes, than non-fiction.

Say something. I read on some local social media maven’s Facebook page – you WOULD know the name: “Many of my favorite FB users seem to be the ones getting off the site/closing their accounts.” One of the responses was interesting: “I think FB has changed a lot over the past two years. You have too many people posting 30 times a day every little thing they’re doing. And others that never talk, but you know they’re stalking everyone’s posts. It’s just not the same.”

That response addresses two or three points I want to make. You CAN blog too often. My need to limit myself to once a day was for MY sake, but I imagine the readers appreciate it too.

You should comment on other people’s blogs. Find some bloggers who write about things you’re interested in, preferably ones with a few, or a couple of dozen comments, rather than several hundred. What you are aiming to do is create relationships.

Even before I started blogging, and I was reading my friend Fred Hembeck’s now all-but-defunct blog, I would go to his links of interesting comic book artists, writers, fans. And I would read their stuff. Some of it interested me, some didn’t. For the former, I would read the comments, and then occasionally say something myself. Then when someone was making great points on a regular basis, I might check out HIS/HER blog. This is how I got to “know” people in Buffalo and England and New Zealand who I’ve never met. If you want to be intentional about it – and I wasn’t – think of it as a form of networking.

When you comment and say pithy things, those folks are going to want to know, “Who IS this clever person?” Some of them will follow you back to your blog.

You can, of course, ask your blogging friends to plug your blog, but (see the early paragraphs), be sure you have a blog worth plugging. Fred Hembeck mentioned me at least a half dozen times in my first year of blogging, and I KNOW it generated traffic for me.

One other thing: you tend to write very lengthy pieces on Facebook, some of which are thoughts in process and therefore belong on FB. But when you’re ready to make a statement, put it in the blog. People are more likely to go back to the blog than FB. I got a comment this month about my late friend Raoul Vezina, based on a post I wrote in November 2008. A blog is better for your body of work.

Now you should PROMOTE your blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, writing enough, especially in the latter, that would compel them to read the whole thing. There are services that will let you post one place and it will show up in several other locales. Networked Blogs is one. TweetDeck USED to do that but isn’t supporting FB anymore.

I dislike reading long stuff on FB. Maybe it’s my aging eyes or ADHD, but if it goes on too long in that tiny font, I bail.

Of course, you can read some books, or join a group, and I’m not opposed to that. I’ve never read a book on blogging, and most of the blogging groups, usually involving writing every day for a given month, I’d forget to actually report that I’d written.

If you want more info, you know where to find me.

Bloggers: please consider joining ABC Wednesday

I remember my first post for ABC Wednesday, K is for the Keating Five.

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that, for the past four years or so, I’ve been participating in something called ABC Wednesday, in which people, literally from around the world, post an item – pictures, poems, essays that in someway describe each letter of the alphabet, in turn.

It was started about six years ago by one Denise Nesbitt from England. Initially, she was doing it all – writing the weekly introductions, visiting all the folks who came to the site, making sure they were abiding by the rules. At some point, she recruited a team of her followers to do some of the intro writing and visiting, which eventually included me.

Then a couple of rounds ago, she was wondering if she should give it up because she was getting a little burned out. So I became the administrator, assigning who reads which posts, making sure somebody is writing the introductions (and writing them myself, when necessary), and inserting the link that allows everyone to participate. Also having to play bad cop when someone grossly violates the simple rules.

I remember my first post, K is for the Keating Five. It was somewhat political, I suppose, and unlike what other people were writing, so I wasn’t sure how well it would be accepted; I guess it was fine.

The Netiquette for the site is this:

1. Post something on your non-commercial blog/webpage having something to do with the letter of the week. Use your imagination. Put a link to ABC Wednesday in your post and/or put up the logo.

2. Come to the ABC Wednesday site and link the SPECIFIC link to the Linky thing. It’ll be available around 4 p.m., Greenwich Mean Time each Tuesday, which is 11 a.m. or noon in the Eastern part of the United States.

3. Try and visit at least 5 other participants…and comment on their posts. The more sites you do visit, the more comments you will probably get.

Bloggers, consider giving it a try if this sounds interesting. We’ll be starting with A again in a couple of weeks.

The Lydster, Part 111: the agony and the ecstasy

I explained that sometimes people moan when they are experiencing pleasure, such as a back massage.

The weather on Saturday before Memorial Day was cold and wet; it rained virtually all day, and the high for the day was only 47F (8C). It was just as well that we (mostly my father-in-law, wife, and daughter) were painting the living room. I was primarily moving furniture and taking things out of the cabinets, etc.

Sunday was a bit better, in terms of the weather, but there was church and more painting to do.

So Monday, Memorial Day was a nice respite from the storm. The Daughter was out front playing around 10:30 a.m. when she came inside, quite concerned. She was afraid that someone had gotten hurt. She’s a very caring person.

I went outside with her, and we could hear the distinct sound of moaning emanating from an open window next door. But these were, I quickly discerned, the sounds of pleasure, not pain.

I explained that sometimes people moan when they are experiencing pleasure, such as a back massage. She accepted that because she’d seen my pained laugh when something unfunny took place.

This, of course, leaves me with two related issues. One involves talking about the birds and the bees. The other is trying to discern which of the neighbors – it’s a three-story building – were celebrating the holiday, then finding a way to suggest that anyone walking by was aware of their activities. I have a pretty good idea but don’t want to discuss this with the wrong party. Or maybe I won’t mention it at all unless it comes up again.