Tag Archives: blogging

It’s my anniversary

Five years ago I retired, washed my hair a few times, even got around to – finally! – dusting all my books. Then I came here and, in complete ignorance, choose a blog name that is also the title of a Woody Allen movie – thereby condemning myself forevermore to also-ran status on the search engines.

But here, I found something wonderful. I found  a vibrant, interesting and often very funny community of people who care enough to speak up and to stand up for what they believe. I found men and women of all ages and backgrounds. I found you – and your blogs. And I followed you. I found bloggers producing literature, bloggers who could write for The New Yorker, bloggers who make me laugh, bloggers who taught me, bloggers who made me mad but from whom I learned to listen. Really listen.

Thank you.

Once before I noted my own anniversary and included the first post at Whatever Works. Here it is again:

first post

Fierce busy and yeah, unbloggy

But back soon . . .


36 to go

I think today’s the day. But AFrankAngle (UPDATE: whoops, it was desertscope  who did that! damn him!) just reminded me of the next milestone. So basically I have to do this all over again?

I’m tired already.

Whatever Works is only 261 hits away from a quarter million

I’ve known for a while this particular milestone was in my near future but I was very surprised this morning when I took a look (after two weeks of teh unbloggy) and saw that it is imminent. Ha! How ’bout that!


We see them come and we see them go

I just visited blogfriend desertscope (who’s been mostly absent for a few months because the inanities and insanities of our public discourse, as he put it, “leave me empty”. I know what he means.) where, from a recent post of his I learned that a one-time favorite of mine, Tbogg, has stopped publishing. He stepped away from his long time blog home at Firedoglake and is off to smell the roses and see what’s next.  For nearly ten years, I read him most days and he always made me laugh.

Here’s his final post, written with his exquisite economy of language:

. . . and that’s a wrap.

That was it. (Well, there was a video, but still . . . )

A few days earlier he said proper goodbyes, bestowing these words of wisdom to guide his soon-to-be bereft readers through the days to come:

  • If Ross Douthat offers some vague promise of respect if you’ll just hand over the keys to your vagina… don’t do it. It’s a trap and he’ll only end up calling you a whore and fat in his next book: Fat Whores I Wouldn’t Fuck With Your Dick No Matter How Much They Look Like A Celebrity: A Journey Of Faith
  • McMegan will write something about public policy that will be completely wrong because she will be “unconvinced” due to the fact that the numbers fail to translate into cups, tablespoons, pinches, pounds, and liters … and also because she is paid to be wrong. But even if she weren’t paid to be wrong she’d still get it wrong.
  • Someone will continue to fund Breitbart.com because it is better than having their staff wandering the streets screaming “STOP RAPING PEOPLE!” at symbols of government over-reach like, for example, mailboxes.
  • Andrew Breitbart will remain dead.
  • Always apply the 24-Hour Rule to every overly-hyped story whether it is revelations about the NSA or the IRS, or news about a spontaneously combusting baby …  although that one seems for real
  • Lastly, we call them ‘libertarians” because ‘sociopath’ is such an ugly word.

A funny man. I wish him well. (And there will always be 13 years of archives of the infamous and always delightful series, “Friday Night Basset Blogging”.)

Pet peeve: Settings that sneak around and change themselves when you’re not looking

This morning’s surprise here at Whatever Works: instead of the usual visible list of ‘recent comments’ on the homepage, here’s what I woke up to instead:

There are no public comments available to display.

Any fellow WordPress bloggers know what’s going on – I can’t find a fix.

UPDATE: It’s even worse. No comments are even coming in – nothing on the blog or in my email since midnight. And now no email at all since noon. So maybe it’s a provider or email problem. Yikes. Since I can’t see comments, feel free to email any thoughts to me: maureenholland@comcast.net

FINAL UPDATE (I hope): A just-as-mysterious self correction has opened the dates and now mail and  comments are flowing again. That odd message under ‘Recent Comments’ on the homepage still there.

I am sorry; this is not good blog etiquette

Good blog-manners means the host responds to comments, re-blogs, and pingbacks in a timely way. But for a while now I’ve increasingly taken you, dear readers, for granted.

I again plead the demands of commitments I’ve made to the two Boards on which I serve.

And there’s this: I miss the time I spend here. I love the interaction. I enjoy the opportunity to clarify my own thinking or share a laugh. I miss my blog. And hanging around with you.

Last night I thought about all this and decided something has to give. And I decided further that letting the blog take the hit, as has been happening, is not what I want.

So next week, I plan to meet with the president of one board and tell him I’ll serve out my term but will be reducing my workload. Right now I publish (and write, design and build) the newsletter, and handle our publicity. These I’ll continue because they’re my own areas of expertise and why I’m on that board.

But somehow, over the last year I’ve allowed myself to be pulled into working on the website, promoting membership, doing a bit of database maintenance and acting as the organization photographer at sponsored events. All that will have to get re-assigned.

Over the last weeks, I started a number of posts that I never finished because they needed more detail or editing or fact checking. As that didn’t happen,  they’ve sat, lonely and waiting to be published, as neglected as the comment threads have been.

Stick with me? I’m gonna fix it.

I think I’m on vacation

A blog-cation if you will.

(See? I just used a stupid made up word and made matters worse by attaching “if you will” –  a time-out is called for.)

A blogiversary!

Fifty Four And A Half turned two today! Go say congrats to Elyse.

I have to detox and it’s Wayne LaPierre’s fault

RockArtTeh stupid out there is wearing me down right now. The lure of this machine in my lap is in hiding or so faint I can’t even hear it.

Not surfing. Not bookmarking. Not posting (maybe some easy stuff). I will avert my eyes and hope for a refresh – I will define success as expelling (or at least containing) knee-jerk, reactive outrage that these days rises too quickly, too often and causes me to make rude noises.

BUT BUT BUT . . . in lighter news: Whatever Works will soon be handing out spare keys to two friends who’ve shown some interest in co-blogging.

They’re both male. They’re both actors. One is 18 and a bit bent and quite liberal. The other is 40, very bent, and very very conservative. Both are fun. And smart. And I like them a lot. And if we pull this off, I hope you do too.

(Hellooooo, Orhan . . . your key still works, if you want to, ya’ know . . . )

I didn’t build that!

WordPress has now sent the 2012 blog stats to its users. Allow me to share. 

Whatever Works is into its fourth year; my first post went up in September of 2009.  (Here it is.)


Since then, there have been 213,000 unique views. They came from  174 countries.

Here’s the history:

  • 2009 (partial year) – 4900
  • 2010 – 35,000
  • 2011 – 63,000
  • 2012 – 110,000

And there have been 2800 posts generating 20,000 comments.

As nice as this is, smug satisfaction from your bloghost is tempered by a less than glorious fact: the most viewed Whatever Works post of all time was, well, this. It got 2181 views because people were looking for that appalling photo. Humility is served.


I want to thank you all for visiting, for reading and for engaging in dialogue. Any blogger knows that over time, commenters become friends. And that’s the best part. Without you, this place is just noise. Just noise.

2013, here we come. . .

The angry gods of the interwebs came for me today

First WordPress shut me out of multiple functions, something that’s been building over the last few days. I couldn’t even access the WP help forums and found no solace in outside forums. Deeply frustrated, I turned away and decided to make some calls.

Uh-oh. Dialing yields only a dial tone. I unplug and replug, I reboot, I turn off, I turn on. I change clothes and even re-comb my hair. Nothing. Nada. Sorry. Have a nice day.

So it was on to MagicJack live chat help – for a 53-minute long chat. That’s 53, as in fifty-three. They sent a few updates and did some remote resets. Once again there was much unplugging and replugging and even more rummaging around in Device Managers and such.

But they did it. Those sweet sweet kids in Bangladesh or wherever, fixed it. I am grateful.

So now one thing is fixed, but the WordPress problem sits there, waiting. More tries but it was just hitting a wall.

And yet here I am. Posting – because I decided to try the desktop. And voila! Everything works fine over here!

So the problem is in my laptop somewhere. And it is something beyond my ken. This may require a visit from the good Todd, he who fixes all things.

It is now four hours since I sat at my desk, four lost hours.

I’m going to have a Diet Coke.


I called in the cats, but it was too late

Light blogging . . . busy busy weekend and now swamped with work and two deadlines looming, tasks made more interesting since my printer breathed its last a few hours ago. HP says 4 days till new one – maybe I’ll get lucky.


Oldies videos still disappearing

Ive been doing a little blog housekeeping today and see that youtube is again taking down more oldies videos, and instead of replacing them with the ‘video no longer available’ message, they’re replacing them with other videos. ‘Short Shorts’ and some Jackie Wilson stuff now appear over and over here.

I’ve tried to keep up and fix things by using different versions of the original songs . . . but it’s too much. So be it.

I just want y’all to know that Who Wears Short Shorts is not my favorite song.

Busy, unbloggy

A retired person like my esteemed self is not supposed to be overwhelmed with what we once called ‘work’. But I am.

It’s not the house or yard or other personal projects. It’s the damn volunteer affiliations, where I regularly over-commit, not yet having learned the obvious lesson.

And so I have my piles again, each demanding attention. There’s the newsletter for one board I’m on. And for that board, because I’m now able to remotely access the organization’s servers, I’m suddenly the go-to person for membership and other miscellaneous information as well.

There’s the unfinished grant application for the beach trust where, even though I’m no longer a Trustee (term limited), I seem to have become an ‘advisor’. As such – lucky me! – I get to do a lot of what I did as a Trustee – at least the responsibility no longer rest with me.

So, like Bart Simpson, it’s to the blackboard for me: must learn to say ‘no’. must learn to say ‘no’. must learn to . . .

And then perhaps some ice cream. It all looks better after some ice cream.

Plus the world out there offends me. And it sucks too. So there.

Hiatus? Hiatus over? Mid-hiatus? Even I don’t know (I’m going with hiatus almost over)

It is my habit at breakfast to keep a pen and notepad at hand along with a small pair of scissors. While I read my paper and sip coffee, glorious coffee, I jot down thoughts to perhaps follow up on later, and often – too often – clip articles with interesting passages highlighted. (I tried that underlining thing – did you know that ball pens often cut through newsprint?) And thus do I seed posts for Whatever Works.

After the ritual, I drop  the morning harvest into a wire basket in the office. If the basket starts to fill up, I do some aggressive weeding, which isn’t hard since much of this is far less interesting at second look.

Right now the basket is full. It is overflowing. It is intimidating.  It has become the enemy. It mocks me mercilessly. And it impedes blogging.

I’ve learned that some things can be left unexamined without doing any harm. So it shall be and so shall I be unbloggy until I face down that nasty basket and strip it of its power. The wastebasket and I shall overcome. Soon.

Meanwhile, it’s summer, the pool and grill beckon, the days are blessedly slow and quiet time is here for the taking, not stolen as in other seasons.

This may be over tomorrow – hell, it could even be later today. So this post shall serve either as explanation for why no blogging, or a return . But that’s summer:  non-committal, and that’s okay.

Friday oldie?

Still having problems inserting videos. Been going back and forth with forums, even cleared out the cache and cookies (what a pain that is!). But no solution yet. So, why don’t you go here and choose one for yourself.


Nothing blog-whore-ey here. Absolutely not!

This is the image I used in my own ‘tanning lady’ post – back when she was still a story. It turned out to be quite popular on teh google and lo, thus did those seekers-of-wisdom-and-truth come right here, right to Whatever Works. And lo, they left their delicious digital signatures, and lo, they did cause my May site stats to soar and climb to a great big number. (It was an outlier. I know. I know. But still . . . )

So now, as an experiment – only an experiment of course, there is nothing blog-whore-ey about it – I’m re-posting that very picture (or ‘gooble-bait’ as I call it) to see what happens.

I myself see this as important research that must be done, so yup, I am so doing it.

Unbloggiest ever

Six posts in the last six days – sparse (and one was a Friday oldie, published with a single click so it hardly counts). Very very sparse.

I conclude therefore that I am very very unbloggy.

(In other news, it’s reported that a member of the British House of Lords thinks Bush and Obama are bad guys and has offered a bounty of ten million pounds to get the two. Can it be worse? Yeah, he announced it during a visit to Pakistan. I must say that was quite bold of His Lordship.)

Comments problem?

I’ve heard from a few readers that they’re not able to comment . . . if you’ve had the problem, please email me at my already hopelessly public address: maureenholland@comcast.net


Something up with WordPress?

WordPress bloggers: my comment notifications are acting weird today. Anyone else??

Blog here, elsewhere is me

Understand this, Yoda would. Lately my blog posts have been either derivative or stuff I’ve posted because I think I should post. My heart is perhaps tired. I’ve even just re-blogged for the first time (new WordPress feature that is very very easy and very very tempting).

I’m  not going  to go dark here or get all unbloggy . . . but nor am I going to just toss stuff up. I must set out to find my mojo. It may have been used up for now by the astonishing tone of the GOP race and the more astonishing and bold steps by Republicans to reign in we ‘uppity’ women.

Find it, I will. Lost, it is not. Hiding, it is.

Still lite blogging and unbloggy anyway. But there is this . . .

. . . from Las Vegas’ 8 News NOW: “Trump to make ‘major announcement’ on presidential race” He still thinks we care. I think that’s kind of cute.

In other newz, my new shiny silver laptop arrived today as did my all legal-like, brand spanking new Office 10 Professional Suite. Tomorrow is a big day as my digital life finally will come off life support and be born anew.

And once it does . .  I will immediately and completely re-organize every single thing in my life to absolute perfection, put everything I own in the right place, rearrange the contents of the bookshelves as they always should have been,  begin blogging on a strict schedule (probably after my 45 rigorous minutes on the elliptical – and the protein shake), never again handle a piece of paper more than once, and feel secure in the certainty that I will never ever misplace anything again. Ever.

Ah, the power of the new ‘puter.


For non-bloggers: A look behind the curtain

Lessons in spam: How [not] to Sound Like A Person:

I had been questioning occasion you ever considered altering customized for specific cultures of the website? Its really correctly created; I adore what youve obtained to say. But possibly it is possible to small a lot more when it comes to content so males could interact with it greater. Youve obtained a terrible total lots of text for only finding a single or two images. Maybe you’ll manage to area it out greater?

We all get robo-spam, those announcements of the latest ‘enhancement’ drugs or miracle weight loss systems. For every one that gets through, 100 others are probably kept out of your inbox by a blocker.

Same with blogs – Aksimet on WordPress does a fine job for
Whatever Works. (It’s blocked almost 14,000 spam comments from making it through, but does hold them for review, just in case.)

Robo spammers (see above) have been working at creating auto generated and specific ‘comments’ based on the content of a post. Sometimes they’re even successful, but not often. Sheer awfulness still reigns supreme. It’s a Beta world so far.

But that could change. I notice lately that the language is a bit sharper, the comment itself more relevant, almost believable.

The goal for now is commercial, to encourage a blogger to click through. Which means of course that the goal is to deceive.

I do wonder about future implications for us all when deception is run by software, is automated, targeted and widespread.

Pet peeve: a post is not a blog

Lately, especially in media where they really ought to know better, I hear ‘blog posts’ referred to as ‘blogs’.

A post is not a blog. An article is not a newspaper. A story is not a magazine.

Please stop it.

Some gentle blog humor

Linda Holmes at NPR’s website had some fun yesterday, inventing 20 ficitonal commenters and their comments. They’re right on. Here are her “20 Unhappiest People You Meet in the Comments Sections of End of the Year Lists”:

1. The Poisoned. “The fact that you included Adele on this list of 100 things you like makes it a total joke.”

2. The Really Pretty Sure Person, Who Is Really Pretty Sure. “I’ve never seen Game Of Thrones, but I’m really pretty sure it’s not as good as Boardwalk Empire.”

3. The Person Who Is Exactly Right. “It really seems like this list of things you thought were good is just your opinion.”

4. The Surprisingly Lucid Narcoleptic. “ZZZZZZZZZ” is the classic. “SNORE” and “YAWN” are acceptable variants.

5. The Mother Of Tim “Freckles” Matterley. “There is a musician in Ann Arbor named Tim Matterley who is better than all these songs! You would like his music. He has a web site at FrecklesMatterley.com, and you can get his songs free on your computer! Please check out Tim Matterley, who does not have a big record contract YET but is very very good!!!!” Two comments later, she will often come back. “Also, Tim Matterley is in this YouTube video where he plays ‘Imagine’ at a children hospital. I am just one fan but I think he is great and he will go far!!!”

Continue reading

Well. Well.

Snipped this from my site stats page, just now. As I write I expect the clock will turn.


Stuff: trees, blogging, Condoleezza Rice

That Christmas tree? The one in a pail of water out in the carport? That one? Intact, looks lovely, has perky, sweet smelling pine needles. And it would be perfect if . . . . now I’ve bought trees for that spot for 17 years and I know the right size. I can pick out the right tree four rows in under the tent – from the street. That’s how well I know the right size to buy and lug home.

I bought the wrong size.  Yesterday’s curse was strong.

The holidays have started to intrude on my prefered pace of life, which is slow. Very, very slow. There’s likely to be light blogging till I put my foot down or have a burst of energy.

Meanwhile, you’ve heard this:

ONE of the great tropes of Republican criticism of Barack Obama is that the president goes around the world apologizing for America’s past misdeeds. “Have we ever had a president,” Mitt Romney asked in a foreign policy speech this summer, “who was so eager to address the world with an apology on his lips and doubt in his heart?”

But did you know this?

 In a major speech in Cairo in 2005, Condoleezza Rice, then Mr. Bush’s secretary of state, said that “for 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East — and we achieved neither.” What was she doing if not apologizing on behalf of the United States — and vowing to put an end to a pattern of misguided policy?

Maybe it’s a black thing.

Um, WordPress? 78 spam to deal with?

WordPress (this blogging platform) has a comments spam blocker called Akismet which historically has been very good. But in the last weeks, more and more are getting through – 78 just this morning, all of which I will review before deleting because maybe, just maybe one of them will be legit.

The life of the stat whore.