UPDATE – CHANGING HOW COMMENTS APPEAR

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I wanted to tell everyone so you won’t get confused. I have always put the newest comments on top because I hate having to scroll through a zillion comments before I can add one. But this also makes the order of comments and responses a bit weird. It gets really hard to figure out which response is for what comment. So, I have switched it around and now comments will be in the order in which they were written, with the oldest on top and the newest on the bottom.

There’s no entirely happy solution to this problem. I wish the comment box would appear on top regardless of where the comment would ultimately appear, as they do it on Quora and many other sites. But WordPress doesn’t offer that as an option. You can choose oldest down to newest, or newest down to oldest.

Let me know how you feel about this. I’m ambivalent and not entirely happy with either solution. I’ll be happy to have your input.

AND … THE “DOUBLE KNOT” GIVEAWAY WINNER IS …

I gathered your names. Wrote them on little slips of paper. I dropped them in a cap and picked one. (Only one entry per name. Many comments from one person is still one entry, sorry.)

The winner of the complete set of Gretchen Archer’s Davis Way Caper books is Cheryl, one of my favorite lurkers. I’m sorry I don’t have more sets to give because if I could, I’d give every single one of you a set of books.

Double Knot Cover

In case you’d like to acquire them on your own, you can buy a set of the first four books on Kindle from Amazon at this link. Gretchen Archer’s page and her books in all formats (including hardcover), are here!

And, of course, you can get the just-released, fantastic DOUBLE KNOT using this link.

And you can find reviews for all the Davis Way caper books as well as the interview with Gretchen Archer by clicking the links. Thank you all for participating. To me, you are all winners!

Double Knot review (link)
The Story Behind the Story: Interview With Gretchen Archer (link)

Cheryl, please get in touch with me. I need your snail-mail shipping address. If you don’t have my email address (though I’m quite sure everyone in the universe has my email address), you can use the contact form on “The Marilyn Page.”

NEWSPAPER MEMORIES

Garry used to read three newspapers every day. It was partly because he was a reporter and needed to know what was going on, but also because he actually wants to know what’s happening in his world.

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Me? I’ve always been a newspaper skimmer. A glance through the front page, then a rapid trip through the rest of the stories. I was always fond of The New York Times because they treated archaeological finds as headline news.

No other newspaper did (does) that.

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My other favorite paper was The Vineyard Gazette, published on Martha’s Vineyard (it’s a subsidiary of The Boston Globe which is owned by The New York Times). They treated bird-sightings as important news. I felt that these papers understand the meaning of the word “news,” that it wasn’t just crime, disaster, and politics. There really are other things that are at least as important. For some of us, much more important.

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Book reviews, movie reviews, news of exhibits at museums … to me these are news. I guess they don’t sell papers the way stories of fresh disasters can.

These days, politics is news of fresh disasters. I wonder if newspapers are selling better these days?

A NEW LOOK FOR SERENDIPITY

I have changed the look of Serendipity. Again. I am pretty sure I’ve gone through at least a dozen templates since I started blogging more than four years ago.

Why? Because I’ve had a series of issues for the last three or four months. Some minor ones, others not so minor. All of them required intervention which, to WordPress’s credit, they have worked through and fixed.

I am convinced at least some of them are glitches connected to the Wilson theme I have been using. This isn’t the first time I’ve had a template “go sour.”  I have a theory about this. I cannot prove it, but I believe it’s true.

UNTITLED

WordPress is forever messing around with their software. These changes affect not only what they intend, but have many unintended “side effects.” Like the way the new software affects individual template functions. They don’t do much (any?) beta testing. Like so many other big software companies, they make changes, throw the new version out to customers and let us find the problems for them.

I hate this casual attitude toward properly testing software. I resent it as do most serious technology users. But apparently testing new versions of software is not included in the development budget. Plenty of money to develop and not one cent for testing. Aggravating.

So, after I’ve been using a theme for a few months, glitches start appearing. It’s like playing Whack-a-Mole. You smack one problem down, another pops up. You whack that one over the head and out of the game, and three more spring from holes in the ground.

After a while, you figure “Okay, time to change games.” Or, in this case, templates.

This theme is “Untitled” and it displays pictures well and large. I’m not sure I like the way it handles text, but I will give it a chance. There are a lot of templates. I haven’t tried all of them. Yet.

THANKS FOR THE ANGST – ELLIN CURLEY

THANKS FOR THE ANGST, by Ellin Curley

Scientific studies now exist that defend
Stress as something good which we need to extend
Our productive lives,  as we get on in years.
So perhaps we should fuel, not conquer our fears
And dwell on what is scary in the world today
So we can keep our minds sharp and dotage at bay.

That’s easier today than it was in the past
Thanks to round-the-clock, in your face, varied and vast
News media, that seem to excel at frightening
(But not at their job – informing and enlightening!)

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Whenever we search for what we used to call “news”,
Major world events and leaders’ well-reasoned views,
The depths of human depravity appear
In bold print before our eyes or loudly in our ear.
We get endless non-reporting, in-depth and detail,
Of the endless ways in which the conscience can derail

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A killer with a torture device collection,
A kidnapper with a sex slave ring connection,
A pervert who goes way beyond weird and bizarre,
A psycho who hoards, God knows what, in his car!

The news keeps us knee-deep in sickos and creeps,
Who are out there for real, not just made up for sweeps!
We’ve been programmed to be on our guard all the time
So we don’t end up being a statistic of crime.
Instead of relating with trust and with ease
We assume those we meet have a mental disease.
You’ve made everyone in the country paranoid;
We’ve all got PTSD now, according to Freud!

Then there are reports that are billed as “public service”
Which really just want to make sure that we’re nervous
About things in our house that can kill our pet,
Diseases we never heard of we’re at risk to get,
Some food or drink we give our grandkids every day
That’s been reported to sicken or kill in some way,
The “fluke” accidents that seem to daily kill and maim,
The fear we’ll die with a Darwin Award in our name.
“Petty” you may say – but the message is clear –
Vigilance is a must to live out the year.

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Thanks to the media we are also aware
Of all the stupidity and ignorance out there.
Not just IN the world, but running it as well
(Running it into the ground and straight to hell)!
Instead of dealing with the problems we must solve
Leaders argue if man “appeared” or “evolved”.
Rational and civil debate has been hijacked
By arguments whether a fact is, in fact, a fact.
“Discussion” is now defined as “loud, angry yelling”
And there’s little hope of the hostilities quelling.
It feels like we’re devolving back to the cave
Or rapidly digging a species sized grave.
That’s because there are no longer systems in place
To keep PEOPLE from destroying the human race!

It may be true that we won’t lose our edge if the press
Artificially elevates our levels of stress.
But the more we’re exposed to greed and insanity,
Selfishness, prejudice, lying, inanity,
The less we care about our brains getting stronger
And our bodies thriving so we can live longer.

NO!

The bombardment of negativity we endure
Has left us conflicted, hopeless and unsure –
Do we really WANT to keep senility at bay?
Or just let our minds slip peacefully away?
Being connected and well-informed these days
Creates angst and despair in so many ways!
We often think,” Why bother getting out of bed?
Long life is a croc! We’d be better off dead”!

“SOUL AND SPIRIT” HAS GONE SILENT

Rashmi Kashyap of Soul and Spirit has not been heard from since last December. I know her husband (who is in the army in India) was being transferred (again) and that the terrible flooding in the region affected many people, although her family had come through it intact as of last contact.

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Her email was rashmik22@gmail.com, but it does not seem to be working. It’s possible that wherever they, they don’t have connections available.

I have been worried about her and her family for a while, but they are on the other side of the world and I have no way to even try to find them. If anyone has local contacts in India, could you try to track her down and make sure she’s okay? Three months is a long time for silence to continue.

If you know anything, hear anything … please let me know? I’m not the only one who is concerned.

McDUFF BECOME GIBBS – FAMILY TIME!

It was love at first sight. At least from our end.

McDuff has become Gibbs, after you-know-who. McDuff didn’t know his name anyway, so it seemed like not a bad idea to rename him. And somehow, we both thought he was a Gibbs and came to the same name independently. Great minds think alike and all that.

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He likes the other dogs. He tried to steal Garry’s sandwich from his hand. After all the dogs ate, Gibbs checked all the bowls in case someone had missed a piece. He barks at each passing car. His bark is deeper than Bishop’s.

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He is not housebroken, so I’ve work to do with him. But I knew that before we brought him home. He’s not a tiny pup, so it shouldn’t take too long, especially with other dogs around to show him the way.

No one knows his exact history, what road he took to wind up at a breeder’s auction. I think he might have been someone’s pet … maybe early in his life. He seems to know about stairs. And furniture. He’s familiar with food dishes, water bowls — and wasn’t afraid to try and steal Garry’s sandwich.

He’s not fearful of hands or noise. I don’t think he was physically mistreated. Tentative about entering a room and a bit confused and disoriented, but happy to be with other dogs. Happy to be outside, too. Ready to play.

Gibbs has come home.