Blogging at the Three Year Mark

I was responding to a post by nursekelly on the trials and tribulations of blogging.  It piqued my interest and resulted in a post of its own.  As of this January, I have now been blogging for 3 years (on and off) and I make the following observations:

BloggingThree1

It was very hard to start.  I was fearful of saying something stupid or wrong and of not getting any response.  Over time, I found it easier to post, although finding new topics is still difficult and seems to come in spurts.  Saying stupid things comes naturally to me so I got over that quickly.

I picked a theme to find “my voice.”  Being a curmudgeon-at-large wasn’t that hard. Even though there were and are others with the same idea, my innate warped sense of humor gave me focus.  Can you blog successfully without a focus?  Well, Jerry Seinfeld made millions of dollars with a comedy show “based on nothing,” but most of us need a focus.

Building a set of loyal followers takes time but it only takes a few who have a rather large following and an interest in your blog to increase activity.  Commenting on other peoples’ blogs also helps (but does not guarantee) to increase activity on your own and, quite frankly, I need to do more of it.

I have not encountered “super bloggers” (100,000+ followers) but I have noticed several who get a very large number of likes and comments even though the actual post seem inane or lacking content.  I still don’t know why this happens.  I find more revealing those bloggers who write well or have a creative view, have a sizable audience (100’s or 1000’s, not 100,000), get a sizable number of comments and still have time to reply to most.  These bloggers are dedicated to interaction and exchange of ideas.  Personally, I would prefer to be the latter rather than the former.

I have several fellow bloggers who are writers – no surprise that many bloggers are writers – who unabashedly use their blogs to advertise their books.  Not one (so far) has asked for a contribution and I believe it fair to use a blog for marketing promotion.  If you like the way the blogger writes, then you will be more likely to be interested in their books.

Bloggers come and go.  Some get exhausted; many run out of ideas; some have reached their primary goal (sobriety, end of a bad relationship, fear of writing, etc.). While I still read and follow many that I started with, others have, regrettably, stopped blogging.  The upside is to encourage looking for new ones.

Obscenity and vulgarity – I don’t mind it and I use it occasionally for emphasis but I’m not good at it.  Besides, there are already too many “fuck you” rants posts as it is.

I try to read as many different types of blogs as possible, from the creative, inspirational and poetic to those that others might find offensive, weird or unusual.  I want to stretch my aging brain, not restrict it.  While I have written posts about subjects like elderporn, alien anal probing and sex with animals, I would hope that no one takes me seriously.  (Sorry to disappoint you, Fido.)

So, what’s your blogging view and experience, whether newbie or veteran?  Is it up, down, sideways, ever-changing or static?  I await your reply with bated breath.  (Does bated breath leave a taste in your mouth?)

Dear Verizon

Dear Verizon

January 2015

Verizon
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Verizon:

I am writing to you in the (vain) hope that you will correct my problem without harassing me.  I hate to sound so negative (actually, I don’t mind at all) but my recent interactions with you have been, shall we say, less than exemplary.

I recently moved and, despite my misgivings, decided to keep my service with you.  This alone should have given me a few attaboys in your Verizon rewards system.  What I did not recognize is that attaboy are a lot like rasbuckniks* – totally worthless.

Before I moved, I paid my old bill in full.  After I moved, but before the billing period expired, I got a new bill which I also paid in full.  My (foolish) expectation was that I would receive some credit back because I had in fact paid for overlapping service from the old location to the new one.  Instead, I was told that I owed money due to a cancellation fee even though I kept the same service!  So the price to be paid for keeping the same service is to be slapped with a cancellation charge.  Even members of the U.S. Congress have not yet come up with a cancellation fee for keeping them in office. (I said “yet;” they are working on it as I write this letter.)

After numerous telephone calls and exchanges with various Verizon departments, you add insult to injury by attempting to “improve” my service with a few (many) questions about the items I currently have.  Saying that I am perfectly happy with my current service doesn’t stop you.  Asking you to fix my billing problem first doesn’t stop you.  Threatening to change service providers doesn’t stop you.  Telling you that there is a vicious black bear behind you doesn’t stop you.

By the way, what’s up with the name Verizon?  If it’s a combinatory name, then what two names did you combine?  Very and Horizon?  Veracity and Zone?  My personal choices would be So-so service and Badger – SoBad – or how about Contradictory Answers and Fusillade of Extraneous Questions – ConFusE?  As you can tell, I am not very good or appreciative of made up names from combinations.  One day, some overly clever marketer will decide to name a progressive book company that publishes recorded logs of religious material by combining Diarist and Heavenly to get — Diarrhea.

Let me sign off by saying that I am, (for now),
Begrudgingly yours,

Curmudgeon-at-Large

 

*The rasbucknik was the currency unit of Lower Slobovia in Al Capp’s comic strip “Li’l Abner.” One rasbucknik was worth nothing at all; a million rasbuckniks were worth even less because of all the trouble of lugging them around.

Horrorscope

horoscope

Well, it’s that time of year again.  No, not best wishes, holiday cheer or new year’s resolutions.  While a curmudgeon has resolutions, few have cheer or well wishes attached.   No, it’s time for your new year’s horoscope.

Have you bothered to read your horoscope lately?  In ancient times (pre-internet), we had to rely upon newsprint.  Today, there are numerous on-line sources just as irrelevant.  On whatever day you were born, there is a paragraph of platitudes interspersed with just a dash of concern.  In some way, every one born on that day finds something with which to agree.

Here are a few random samples:

“You might expect to receive the support you need today, but it could be withdrawn at the very last minute. Change is in the air and soon you won’t be able to go back to where you were.”

“Today’s Sun/Pluto square is like a searchlight that finds you at the right moment and a million little circumstances open the way to success. Tonight, ensure that feelings aren’t attached to old illusions that aren’t relevant to who you are and the person you are with now.”

“We may grow tired of the emotional intensity today as our thoughts push into new territory. The Moon’s shift into clever Gemini at 7:47 am EDT makes it difficult for us to turn off the constant flow of words. However, an awkward Venus-Uranus alignment has us longing for some quiet.”

Say what?!  Get to the point!!

Will I be rich/poor; famous/infamous; handsome/ugly; loved/unloved?  It’s all nonsense.  I have carried it to an extreme by creating a new abbreviated daily horoscope based on the birthday of one notable individual.  I call it the Curmudgeon’s Horrorscope.

Here’s a one day random horrorscope for each month:

January 8 – Elvis Presley – You are well known for your social and charming personality but mostly for your hips and the way you move them. People are naturally drawn to you and actively seek your company even after death.

February 12 – Abraham Lincoln – Against all odds, you’ll grow up to achieve great success but everyone will think that you’re not qualified for the job.  Stay away from theaters.

March 31 – Johann Sebastian Bach – You are a musical genius but no one will notice until after you’re dead.  To make up for this, you will have many children.

April 20 – Adolph Hitler – Uh Oh!  Things don’t look good for you (or anyone around you for that matter).

May 16 – Tori Spelling – You will (after numerous alterations) have a fabulous figure and inherit big bucks but still look like a handsome horse with lipstick.

June 8 – Kanye West – You are destined to make a zillion bucks as a musician, artist and producer; marry a voluptuous woman; have a beautiful baby.  You still won’t smile.

July 21 – Ernest Hemingway – You will write.  It will be good.  You will drink.  You will die alone, in the dark.

August 21 – Usain Bolt – You are celestially influenced by the power of our Sun and ruled over by the planet Jupiter’s authority.  Translation – you’re fast; real fast; leave others in the dust fast!

September 25 – Barbara Walters – Determination gets you fame, fortune and your own TV show along with a lisp.

October 1 – Randy Quaid – You will always wish that you were as good looking as your sibling.  If you have no siblings, then you will just wish you were good looking.

November 5 – Roy Rodgers –  Two thoughts; horses and fast food.  Just don’t combine them!

December 18 – Joseph Stalin – Hate to end the year on a sour note but things don’t look good for you either (see April 20th).

Transformed

For those of you unfamiliar with this theme, Fallen Arches is a curmudgeon’s way of looking at romance, one broken heart at a time.

So here is yet another episode of:

Fallen Arches title copy

transformation

Darryl had only three desires in life – hunting, fishing and getting into girls’ panties.

Coming to Grandma’s cabin in the mountains let him do the hunting and fishing; girls’ panties would have to wait a bit longer.  He always liked coming to Grandma’s cabin.  Grandma was a little bit weird but she was pleasant and she always fed him good stuff like shrimp and grits and biscuits with gravy.  Besides, the hunting on her property today was fan-tastic!  He had already bagged himself two rabbits just a short ways from the cabin and was on his way back to show off his trophies.

His hope was that Grandma would be back and she would not have Uncle Fester and Aunt Lou Ellen in tow.  They were really weird! In fact, all three kept talkin’ shit about some trans-somethin’.  Aunt Lou Ellen was always gabbing about how the rocks and the stars mixed with your soul and brought out your inner being, blah, blah, blah.  It was all bullshit as far as Darryl could see.  He couldn’t figure it out and didn’t want to.  As long as they fed him and let him hunt, he was happy.

He also liked the thought of seeing cousin Daisy.  He always wanted to get into her knickers since he was a pup.  She must be all of fourteen now and ripe as could be, yeseree.  Darryl figured that one day he’d see Daisy, sneak up on her and let nature do the rest.  At least, that was how Darryl saw it.

As he approached the cabin, he saw that Grandma had returned.  The other pickup in the drive told him that Uncle Fester and Aunt Lou Ellen were there as well.  His downcast spirits were lifted a bit by the thought of seeing cousin Daisy, even if she came with that snot-nosed little brother of hers.  Just as long as Uncle Fester didn’t stare at him with those god-awful eyes.  Darryl was a big, strong young man and not afraid of much but something about Uncle Fester frightened him and made his skin crawl.

He bounded up the steps and prepared himself for the ritual greetings as he heard Grandma say to him “Oh, Darryl.  You just missed it.  It was the most wonderful transformation that your uncle has ever done.”

Darryl wondered what crap he had thankfully missed when his aunt chimed in.  “It was amazing.  Both children just hopped and bounded with joy.  You should have seen them leaping out the door and into the fields.”

“Both children?” said Darryl querulously.  “You mean Daisy and her little brother?”

“That’s right.” chirped Aunt Lou Ellen.  “Your uncle made them free animal spirits.  They get to enjoy the entire day as joyful creatures of the open air and fresh fields before they change back.  You may have passed them hopping about as you came in.”

“H-h-hopping” stammered Darryl.  “You mean l-l-like rabbits?”

“Yes,” said Aunt Lou Ellen “that’s exactly right.  Your uncle transformed them into two darling rabbits to sense freedom and experience their other being.”

“So what did you do while we were gone?” asked Grandma.  “Was your hunting successful?”

“Oh, yes” said Darryl, without thinking.  “I managed to bag two – ah – two – ah r-r-rab-rabbits.”

“Two rabbits” said Uncle Fester in a low, even but menacing voice.  “Two rabbits out in the front field, by any chance?”

“Y-e-s” said Darryl slowly as a dreadful thought started to enter his skull.

“The front field!” shrieked Aunt Lou Ellen, “Isn’t that where the children went when you changed them?”

Uncle Fester’s eyes – always scary as two coal-black centers – now began to change to an intense, fiery red glow as he stared with increasing animosity at Darryl.

Darryl realized with growing alarm that he was going to find out about being transformed.  And he wasn’t going to like it one bit!

The Remedy for You

I feel your pain. No, really, I feel your pain (and my own).  That’s why I have done extensive research to help you alleviate all those aches, twinges, soreness, throbbing, and hurts.

Extensive research means watching a bunch of commercials and reading a pile of advertisements in magazines.  As a result, I have created a cure-all for what ails you.

Dr. Cur’s Cure-All™

In the nineteenth century, it was easy (and profitable) to advertise cure-all products. One of the best known quack product lines was Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp-Root Kidney Liver Bladder Remedy.  This remedy professed to cure everything from Bright’s Disease, urinary trouble, sediment in urine, lame back, rheumatism, aching pains, diabetes, dropsy, malaria, dyspepsia, gall stones, gout, pimples, ulcers, syphilis, poor appetite, slime fever to kidney stones, liver problems and catarrh of the bladder.  Dr. Kilmer got very rich selling his cure-all remedy.

Dr. Kilmer

I figured I could do something similar today by mashing together the most commonly advertised medicines into one all-purpose remedy. Dr. Cur’s Cure-All™ will cure everything from Aagenaes syndrome to Zygomycosis.

Of course, thanks to the increased vigilance of health and drug oversight organizations, I would – of necessity – have to include all the potential side effects.

“In taking Dr. Cur’s Cure-All™, you may encounter swelling of the lips, chest pains, erection lasting more than four hours, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, redness, paralysis, numbness, burning sensation, unusual changes of behavior, kidney or liver problems, glaucoma, diabetes, seizures, increased blood pressure, itching, right upper-belly pain, dark urine, yellow skin/eyes, unexplained flu-like symptoms, high fever, confusion, stiff muscles, dry mouth, and constipation.

An unsafe drop in blood pressure, blurred vision, facial flushing, and sensitivity to light may occur.

You may also experience aggressive reaction, breast tenderness or enlargement, confusion, convulsions, diarrhea, drowsiness, dryness of the mouth, fast talking and excited feelings or actions that are out of control, fast, pounding, irregular, or slow heartbeat, fever, inability to sit still, increase in body movements, increased sweating, increased thirst, lack of energy, loss of bladder control, mood or behavior changes, muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities, nosebleeds, overactive reflexes, racing heartbeat, red or purple spots on the skin, restlessness, shivering, skin rash, hives, or itching, sudden loss of consciousness, unusual or sudden body or facial movements or postures, and unusual secretion of milk (in females).

In addition, you may be subject to abdominal or stomach pain, bleeding gums, blindness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, bloating, blood in the urine, bloody, black, or tarry stools, blue-yellow color blindness, blurred vision, chest pain or discomfort, chills, clay-colored stools, cough or hoarseness, darkened urine, decreased urine output, decreased vision, depressed mood, difficulty with breathing, difficulty with speaking, difficulty with swallowing, drooling, dry skin and hair, eye pain, fainting, feeling cold, feeling of discomfort, feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there, general feeling of discomfort, illness, tiredness, or weakness, hair loss, high fever, high or low blood pressure, hoarseness or husky voice, hostility, increased clotting times, indigestion, inflamed joints, irritability, joint or muscle pain, large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs, lethargy, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, loss of balance control, loss of bladder control, lower back or side pain, muscle aches, muscle cramps and stiffness, muscle trembling, jerking, or stiffness, muscle twitching, painful or difficult urination, pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back, pale skin, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue, rapid weight gain, rash, red, irritated eyes, red, sore, or itching skin, right upper stomach pain and fullness, severe mood or mental changes, severe muscle stiffness, shuffling walk, sore throat, sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips, sores, welting, or blisters, stiffness of the limbs, sweating, swelling of the face, ankles, or hands, swollen or painful glands, talking or acting with excitement you cannot control, tightness in the chest, troubled breathing, twisting movements of the body, twitching, uncontrolled movements, especially of the face, neck, and back, unexplained bleeding or bruising, unpleasant breath odor, unusual behavior, unusual tiredness or weakness, weight gain, and yellow eyes and skin.

Oh, and vomiting of blood.”

[I’m going to need a bigger warning label on the bottle to get all of this in.]

Remember, cure all with Dr. Cur’s Cure-All™.