WHAT’S UP DOC? ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM!

RENEWING THE PROMISE TO FIND INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH … AND A THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FRIENDS
A Glimpse into 2017: You and Your Site in the New Year (Part II)

First and foremost, despite all of WordPress’s improvements which make it so much more difficult to manage this blog and keep putting out quality material, I intend to give it my best shot. As will my co-conspirators who I thank from the bottom of my heart for their contributions, love, and support.

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A huge thank you to Ellin Curley who has completed a full year of blogging and never missed a deadline! In any business, that’s a pretty big deal. Her witty, cultured, and humorous observations on the human and doggish condition have vastly improved the quality of Monday morning for me and many others!

Contemplating the years

Contemplating the years

To Rich Paschall who has not only never missed a day, but always been there to pitch in when I’ve been away, on a vacation or rather more frequently — in the hospital. Thank you, Rich. From the bottom of my heart, I have never regretted inviting you to become a part of this … whatever we are. I only wish you lived nearby so we could slurp coffee and plan projects! More than three years during which time you have written fiction, travelogues, and deeply moving LGBT stories — documentary and fictional. Your writing has made a difference in lives all over the world. You have had an impact on the community and woken up a more than a few people who might otherwise never have paid attention to a reality in which they don’t personally live. Several of Rich’s pieces are among the most-views posts published on this site.

Rich, you are a treasure!

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Garry, who is as I type this writing a piece … you are always my star on Serendipity. Your stories of the people you’ve met, the things you’ve seen, as well as your wonderfully warped sense of humor and great eye for a picture are of incalculable value to me, personally and to this site. I couldn’t do it without you. I wouldn’t even want to try.

And Tom. You haven’t written much, but each thing you have contributed has shown brightly. You make people laugh and you tell the truth in a way that people can both understand and enjoy. That’s a rare gift. Now, how about a little more output in the year to come? I know you’ve got stories. Between you and Garry, you’ve got an encyclopedia of stories. How about the time you met Timothy Leary? Huh? Now that buying pot in Massachusetts is legal — but selling it is not (huh?) …

I couldn’t have better friends or a better team. It’s a rough world out there and this is, for all of us, the one place where we can say how we really feel … and at least so far, no one can stop us from expressing ourselves. Let’s keep the world smiling, thinking, and remember to check the facts. Let’s have the best reality-based-with-wild-flights of fancy weblog in the world! We’re almost at half a million views as I write this. Lets get there and keep going. Yay team. Yay each of us.

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But the biggest thank you goes to my followers, readers, and friends. They say that friends you meet and get to know on the Internet are not “real,” but a lot of you are very real to me. You have encouraged me when I’m down, told me I’m great when I feel anything but, sent me little gifts that made me feel incredibly special. I don’t know that I deserve your love and support but you have — all of you (and you know who you are, or I certainly hope you do!) from the farthest east, to the mountains of Switzerland, to the glades and glens of Shropshire, Cornwall, and the mysterious standing stones in England … you have taken me to places I had only dreamed of.

I’ve seen the sun rise over the Jura mountains and in the Arizona desert.We got there in person —  you can’t top that!

I’ve seen the wilds of Australia and Tasmania. Learned how much our Canadian neighbors are just like us … but different, too. We’ve shared our kids, our dogs, our fears for our country’s futures. Our concerns for the climate and the natural world.

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We’ve talked about our life, loves, and many happy hours about our cats and dogs and horses. I’ve learned about growing up in places that to me are as mythical as Oz or Valhalla … and met people who have traveled and lived all over the world. And all of you have helped me feel as if finally, I fit in somewhere. I belong to this world, this strange and marvelous world of blogging we share.


ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM


Let’s all take a bow and stride forward bravely into the new year.  Go team SERENDIPITY!

WHEN IT’S TRUE – BUT WRONG

THE DAILY BLOG – AN AGATHA CHRISTIE MYSTERY


So there we were. It’s late. The dogs are sleeping. Garry and I are watching “The ABC Murders” on the BBC Poirot series. Poirot is reading an article in the newspaper, supposedly quoting Captain Hastings. Hastings says “I say, Poirot, I really didn’t say that, you know.”

“I know,” says Poirot. “But perhaps this will help us. The murderer, he sees what I supposedly said in the daily blog …”


BLOG (US)

noun
1. A website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.
2. A single entry or post on such a website: She regularly contributes a blog to the magazine’s website.
verb (used without object), blogged, blogging.
3. To maintain or add new entries to a blog. Verb (used with object), blogged, blogging.
4. To express or write about on a blog: She’s been blogging her illness for almost a year.

Origin of blog 
1995-2000; shortening of weblog – Related forms: blogger, noun

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.


Whoa!

Blog? He used the word blog? This show was aired in 1992 and the story is set in pre-World War II England. How far back does the word “blog” go? These BBC productions are generally considered accurate renditions of the books.


BLOG (British) 

1998, – short for weblog (which is attested from 1994, though not in the sense “online journal”), from (World Wide) Web + log.

Joe Bloggs (c.1969) was British slang for “any hypothetical person” (cf. U.S. equivalent Joe Blow); earlier “blog” meant “a servant boy” in one of the college houses (c.1860, see Partridge, who describes this use as a “perversion of bloke”). As a verb, “to defeat” in schoolboy slang.

The Blogger online publishing service was launched in 1999.


None of these definitions would be used to describe a newspaper article or column … or even a published rumor. Except — this BBC TV movie was released in 1992. And the word “blog” in a form and meaning we understand is there, where it can’t be because the word did not yet exist.

But it did exist and it meant basically what it means now, except applied to a daily newspaper, not something on the Internet.

I can reach but one conclusion: My accurate sources are wrong. The word did exist at least as early as 1992. If they are wrong about this, what else did they get wrong? Did Agatha Christie use it in the original manuscript? I’d need to have a searchable copy of “The ABC Murders” to do a word search. I don’t have such a book at the moment, but I’ll try to find one. There may be one available as a Kindle and they are searchable. I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, I can’t find any source that admits any evidence that the word “blog” existed in its current form and usage prior to 1995 (most say 1997). All sources agree on this. The word “blog” comes from “web log.” Except obviously, that’s not true.

It’s a mystery worthy of Dame Agatha herself.

How many other things I know are true, are wrong? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: Dateline Uxbridge, 1:22 PM, EDT

After much checking in by helpful readers and friends, the word (given the heavy fake French accent …) might have been one of these three words:

Blood (which is what the transcript of the show thinks it was)

Blab (mebbe, because with the accent, anything that is a single syllable and starts with BL and is followed by an “aw” or “ah” sound could sound like blog

or

Blah, as in “blah, blah, blah” which had during WWI (around 1918), come into common parlance to mean the same thing it means 100 years later.

If anyone has the book, it would be interesting to find out what Dame Agatha actually wrote, as opposed to what the BBC production used in the script. The show is available on Netflix. It is first show of the 1992 season four. “The ABC Murders” is a movie length feature and very well done. It will stand alone as a single viewing.

CHECK OUT THE WORDPRESS CLASSIC STATS REDIRECT SCRIPT V2 – REBLOG

Noticed that you’ve lost your old stats page? Here’s a workaround (actually two workarounds) that may help you get stats you actually can use — until WordPress”fixes it” again. Oy.

The “new improved” stats page has no useful information in it. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the way it looks. If I’m on the stats page, it’s because I want data. I want to see which posts did well, how the month is going, how the year is going. How many posts I’ve written and the number of views. And from where they are coming.

The new format for stats is “stats lite.” Apparently WordPress thinks we are morons and can’t deal with meaningful numbers. They have to make them cute and user-friendly because we’re too dumb to deal with anything that gives us information.

I want to also mention the new reblog format. It includes ONLY THE TITLE and one miniature picture. No text at all, so if you want to include any text, you have to do some significant editing. This is also true if you use Press It.

I wish WordPress would stop fixing things that aren’t broken. They are making life very difficult. If they improve things any more, I may give up. This is supposed to be fun, not a battle with software.



WordPress Stats

Introduction

Back then after WordPress introduced a new stats page that quite a lot of people disliked, I suggested you that there was still a way to use the old stats page. I wrote a workaround guide about the classic stats redirect script of tPenguinLTG. This solution solved all issues for a while since everyone could continue to use the previous stats page. But WordPress mentioned back then in the forums that they might phase the previous stats page out, and this is what happened over the last days. If you used the redirect script, you might have noticed that it didn’t work anymore, this was the result of WordPress’s decision to kill the previous page.

Alternative Solution

If you still don’t want to use the new stats page, the incident is not the end of the world. We got help again, tPenguinLTG pushed out an updated version of the script and was working during Christmas days to give us yet again an alternative to the new WordPress stats page. It might be that your script updated automatically, if not, I suggest you to de-install and re-install the script. Check out your Tampermonkey or Greasemonkey browser extension, you should find an option to manage your scripts, that’s where you can de-install the “WordPress.com classic stats”. After that, you just have to install the new version again, the link in my classic stats guide is still the same and should point you to version 2. If you are thankful, please thank the author of the script!

But Something Changed

You noticed it? Yes, something is different now. Since the previous stats page was killed by WordPress, I suggested Penguin to redirect to the even older stats page. I don’t want to confuse you, but there were two different stats versions before they introduced the new one, the oldest stats page is still working, they just phases out the one that followed. Anyway, the oldest stats page is the closest experience you can get to the one you have been used to. If that’s what you want, reinstall the user script and enjoy blogging!


Check out the original post: Check Out The WordPress Classic Stats Redirect Script V2

Please also see the original original author’s site where he includes a lot of coding information, if you are code-literate (I used to be but I’ve forgotten everything in the 10 years since I used it): The Penguin’ says…

TEXTURES FOR A THURSDAY

TUESDAYS OF TEXTURE | WEEK 44 OF 2016


I know it’s not Tuesday. I know and I’m sorry, but Tuesday was a bit busy and Wednesday got full … so Thursday it is. I’m trying to not post more than three things on any day, two of them photography and one something written. I sometimes post a fourth thing if it’s time-sensitive and can’t wait. My statistics are taking something of a hit because, no matter what anyone says, you get more traffic if you post more. One post typically gets maybe 100 hits — on a good day. Four posts will get more than three hundred and occasionally, much more.

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I can’t keep up such a fast past forever — and I don’t want to. I want to own more of my time. To not feel as if “Serendipity” is my job. It was never supposed to be “work.”

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Self-discipline will get this blogging beast under control. Presumably.

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This is something completely different in the way of texture. Smooth. Shiny. Classic and … a lot older than it looks! It was parked next to us at the grocery store. As we were leaving, its owner showed up. He was clearly used to people taking pictures of his adorable truck and told us was from 1930. And obviously, it’s a Ford.

Unfortunately, beyond that, I don’t know what model truck it is. If you know, let me know!

BLOGGING BLUES by ELLIN CURLEY

the thinker

IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS … OR IS IT?

When I agreed to write a weekly blog for Serendipity I thought it would be easy. I read lots of ‘news’ articles, thousands of thoughts go through my mind every day; I talk to people about a wide variety of topics. How hard could it be to come up with just one bloggable idea a week? The answer is ‘very hard.’

The key word, if it is a word at all, is ‘bloggable’. Most ideas cannot be turned into a blog. Correction – a readable blog. The idea first has to be something that other people might remotely be interested in. My obsessive analysis of why my dog barks so much is out.

Second, the idea has to be expandable into a piece of a reasonable length. Most of my thoughts don’t seem to have expandability.

My average thought may be worth a few sentences, but rarely more. For example, every day I wonder why some people (my husband) can’t talk about what they might want to eat for dinner until it is almost dinnertime and they are actually hungry.

Lack of imagination? Inability to plan ahead? Short of commissioning a major psychological study, I don’t have much else to say except that I find it frustrating to live with someone like this since I like to plan dinner right after breakfast if I haven’t already done it the night before.

Bulb-Light idea

A good blog also has to have an angle, a point of view, an interesting perspective. Most topics have already been written about in some format. But you can add to the existing literature if you have a different way of looking at the subject. I read lots of interesting articles but I have nothing to add to what has already been said. In that case, I share the article on Facebook and continue my search for a good blog idea.

Sometimes something I read really gets to me and I write about it even if my insights are not new and illuminating. The theory here is that with some issues, it’s important just to expose them to as many people as possible, as often as possible.

I’m not complaining. I love writing blogs. Maybe people would be interested in why my dog barks so much. Blog readers with dogs who are hair-trigger barkers like mine might be fascinated. Probably I’m overthinking the process. Maybe I should just have a cup of tea. Relax. Wait for another idea to just come to me.

They always do.

BLOGGERS AT PLAY

Garry and Marilyn finally — after three or four reschedulings — finally made it to Connecticut to visit Tom and Ellin Curley. Yes, these are real live friends who we have known a very long time. So long that Tom can remember the first house I lived in when Owen was still a rug-rat.

Tom has all his hair. In our world, that’s noteworthy!

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Tom and Ellin live in a lovely home in the woods with a stream in the back yard. And a boat called Serenity docked on the Housatonic River in Stratford, Connecticut. Pretty nice boat. Pretty big river. The boat’s transmission is currently MIA, having blown itself up some time back — not while we were aboard,  but it’s a great story, in case Tom (hint, hint) feels like writing about it.

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We spent last Thursday hanging out on the boat. It turns out, boats are a great place to hang out, even when they are tied up at the dock. Since Tom has a dinghy with an outboard in good working order, we could still motor up the river, even if the bigger boat is not currently able to do more than float.

Tom took me on a ride, while Garry and Ellin chose to hang with Serenity.

The Serenity is named (by Tom) after the brilliant Joss Whedon sci fi/western series “Firefly” that ran on Fox. “Firefly” lives on Netflix. There’s also a movie, aptly titled “Serenity.” Ellen liked the concept of Serenity which seemed (still seems) a perfect name for a boat. If you can’t find serenity on a boat, you’re hopeless. Many years ago, I had a (very small) sailboat and enjoyed some of my  most serene afternoons sailing her in the salt marshes off the coast of Long Island. But I digress.

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I had brought with me the newest in Serendipity swag-wear — the latest version of our tee-shirt. It’s hard to find gifts for people who don’t need anything. Garry and I don’t need anything either, at least not anything anyone can afford to get for us … so after I designed the tee-shirt, it occurred to me I actually could give them each a tee-shirt since both of them blog.

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Tom and Ellin were exceeding gracious by dressing in matching tee-shirts, something Tom had sworn he would never do — not ever under any circumstances because (in his opinion) it’s the final sign of senility. But I said I wanted pictures. I had a camera and a photo-hungry blog.

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It was a great little mini vacation. Thank you, friends, again for a really love time. And the weather was perfect too. Not too hot, not too cool. Absolutely perfect.

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Garry and I together shot more than 300 pictures, so you’ll see more pictures as I come up with excuses to post them. In the photo galleries, the first set are mine, the second are Garry’s. There are many more! Some days are just incredibly photogenic.

FOR NEW BLOGGERS

Somewhere along the way during the past four years, I’ve gained a slew of new followers. Many of them fall into a group I call “baby bloggers.” Not only are they new to blogging, but they are new to life. They are children. Teenagers as young as 12 or 13 years old for some obscure reason actually follow me. Some are girls and boys who want to be writers or photographers– which makes a certain amount of sense. Others aren’t sure what they want, but have discovered blogging and follow me, hoping I’ll follow them back.

If blogging had existed when I was a teen, I’d have been doing it. For a creative kid, blogging is a godsend. So much better than keeping a diary which you have to hide under your mattress so your mom won’t read it, but she always finds it and reads it anyway. Or just writing stuff no one ever reads. When you blog, even if you don’t have followers, you can be pretty sure someone will read your stuff. Eventually.

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It’s hard to get a blog off the ground. There are weeks, months — even years — before it begins to come together. So when these kids ask me if I’ll follow them, I try to at least give them a read, a “like,” a comment, and some encouragement. I’m already following more blogs than I have time to read, so something has to really grab me to make me sign on.

Some of these baby bloggers are surprisingly good. Others — not so much. Some young photographers need to learn the rudiments of composition and stuff like focusing the camera.

In the writing department, many youngsters need to understand there’s a difference between writing and texting. For the wannabe writers, I’d like to offer some unsolicited advice:

  • Use real words, not internet abbreviations
  • Check your spelling. Spell checkers are one of the premium inventions of the past century
  • Write in sentences and paragraphs. You can break the rules, but first understand them
  • Leave white space on your pages. Too much text and graphics looks cluttered and is difficult to read
  • Punctuation is not optional. Discover how exciting commas and periods can be
  • Do not end every sentence with one or more exclamation points!!! Really, just don’t!!! If you do that all the time, it makes you sound hysterical!!!
  • Use emoticons sparingly 🙂 😦 😀
  • Contractions require apostrophes. In other words — don’t, not dont, can’t, not cant
  • Use black text on a white background (not vice-versa) if you expect anyone over 40 to read you.

If you want grownups to read your posts — by which I mean people other than your texting pals — you will have to write in a way we old people can understand. It’s not just the words you use. It’s also subject matter. I’m mildly interested in what’s going on with your generation,  but I’m way past makeup and gossip. If you are going to write about things that only interest your high school friends, your only followers will be your high school friends. Fine if that’s what you want … but … if you want a broader audience, you’ll have to find other topics.

Most importantly, make sure that you write in a real language, not text-speak. Texting abbreviations are not English. They are something, but I’m not sure what.