My Word Document / Nightlight Website?

 

Typically I don’t obsess over my WordPress daily statistical reports. However… what they’ve been telling me has been baffling and I need to make some sense out of this. So here goes.

I do know the vast majority of you, my readers, are arriving at my homepage. Now, unless you’re merely using my layout’s white background as a brilliant nightlight… that means you’re here to read. And I do thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for deeming me worthy of your precious time.

While that’s the good news, the bad can be summed up thusly…

I’ve been experiencing a lack of “blog likes” disproportional to my fairly respectable posting day traffic.

Recently, it occurred to me how readers could wind up scrolling down my entire homepage… viewing hundreds of my posts… without ever seeing even one clickable “like button”.

While it’s common knowledge that one must click onto each blog’s title to even find that “button”, in the first place, is everyone remembering to do so? More to the point… is not seeing that “like button” not prompting that reaction?

Perhaps another technical issue exists, too? If my understanding is correct, it’s impossible for readers, sans WordPress accounts, to register such “likes”. Additionally, professionals, who’ve opened business accounts on this platform, cannot interact in this manner, either.

Now that we’ve quickly brushed aside the nuts and bolts aspects, let’s explore some possible flesh and blood explanations…

  1. Sociability Factor: Social networks are no different than real world communities. To make and maintain good friendships you must be a good friend. Admittedly, I’ve not been the best WordPress neighbor. I’ve not been viewing and liking my followers’ posts as much as I’d really like to. For that… I am truly sorry. All I can offer, in my feeble defense, is that not all is going well in my real world… and being a private person, I guess I’ll just have to leave it at that. It’s not that I don’t care or have lost interest in you. I’ve been impressed by your limitless talents… appropriately laughed and cried… even audibly whispered my “oh wows”… while experiencing your eloquent prose, poetry and stunning imagery. Trust me, your blogs have far more to offer than mine.
  2. Longwinded Factor: In short, in our say it on a bumper sticker… say it in 140 characters or less world… my posts do run long. Even so, I’ve got to believe that somebody, somewhere out there can still savor a long read.
  3. Shifting Winds Factor: In short, the dinosaur… a.k.a. liberalism… is likely headed for extinction. In short… if mainly right leaning readers are stopping by to visit, they’re finding my left leaning content unappealing and unlikeable.
  4. Fear Factor: My stats also indicate my readership includes many, who reside in far less democratic societies… where my politics would undoubtedly rub the glowering, intolerant powers-that-be the wrong way. Might some of my readers fear top-down reprisal… ranging from their tyrannical leaders to their likeminded next-door neighbors? If that were the case, it’d be best for them not to “like” me… I’d not want my readers to ever wind up pummeled, punished and/or imprisoned.

And I do feel their pain, too. Stunningly, my homeland is finding out, too late, how rapidly a once-upon-a-time free society deteriorates when misled by an avaricious, vengeful, ill-tempered, capricious, so-called leader who eggs on his rabid devotees to commit deadly acts of violence… emboldens them to embrace all of humanity’s worst possible, character flaws.

Hell, even my own sibling, a successful, independent businesswoman, has confided that while she shares my liberal POV, she oft refrains from openly “liking” my blogs out of her all too legitimate concerns that she’ll lose clientele.

 

SIDEBAR: I might as well mention another related phenomenon, which no stats could ever begin to help me figure out. Almost invariably, when someone first starts following me, they don’t click any blog “likes”. Ergo… I’m totally clueless as to why they’ve opted to follow me (don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for their doing so). Anyway, I’ll oft pay them a visit, too… in some cases, even clicking some likes on their posts. Then I wait and wait… never to hear from them again.

 

Well, I believe I’ve explored this issue honestly, inclusive of taking some personal responsibility for my lack of “likes”. Not that two wrongs would ever make one right, but…

I’ve got to wonder about the sites that boast multiple thousands of followers. There’s no way those webmasters could ever, possibly, give sufficient, personal attention to each and every one of their followers… yet… their readership thrives.

To wrap up this lack of “likes” , still unresolved conundrum…

I’ll now turn to the world of music to feed my soul, sort out and shed some light on my feelings. Specifically, I’ll be paraphrasing the following lyrical couplet to excise some mild, seventies era, male chauvinism from the otherwise wisely penned song, Every Kind of People.

Each and every one of us is the same… we want the sunshine in our name.

Folks, here at WordPress that’s the sunshine, which streams onto bloggers courtesy of those “like stars”.

Forgive me if my long-windedness, once again, has persisted. I’m just trying to figure out why, typically, my blogs cannot even muster enough stars to form the bowl of the Big Dipper… while some my blogging colleagues wind up with enough to create a virtual galaxy.

Most Importantly: You, my readers, must never feel any obligation to click a “like”… or worse yet, to do so out of pity. Click “like” only if you’ve truly found my blogs elevating, enlightening, entertaining and/or enjoyable.

Your honest appraisals are what will help me figure out what topics are of interest to you and to hone my subject matter accordingly. Perhaps, I’ll even wind up growing my audience and following? Increase those “like” responses, too?

So, what if I still wind up with a lack of “likes”?

I’ll either have to pack it all in or be content that my website has been and, perhaps, shall forever be little more than an online word document and/or nightlight.

While I’ve said this before, it does bear repeating…

I am neither God’s gift to the www nor do I ever expect to be. But… with your help… with your honest feedback as my guide, I just might become a wee bit better?

 

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The “Heads I Win/Heads I Win” South Dakota Coin Toss

Blog Subtitle: Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

 

Musical interlude time! First, give this catchy li’l tune a listen… then we’ll chat…

 

Say you and a buddy need a quick way to decide something… it matters not what. So… what options are at your disposal? In no particular order, here are several recommendations…

  1. High Playing Card Draw
  2. Rock – Paper – Scissors
  3. Eenie-Meenie-Miny-Moe
  4. U.S. Supreme Court (STRIKE THAT… DISABLE THAT LINK… BAD IDEA1)
  5. Coin Toss

If you’re opting for #5, do exercise a reasonable amount of caution. Be you an American or a stateside tourist (unaffected by the unamerican [sic] travel ban), when fishing out your pocket change, make sure you closely examine your 25¢ pieces!

In the spirit of fair play, if your quarter is part of the America the Beautiful commemorative coin series, avoid the one featuring South Dakota! Why?

Well, unless you call the toss, “heads”… most assuredly…

YOU WILL LOSE!

You see, to the best of this numismatist-blogger’s knowledge, ever since it was minted in 2013, that particular, peculiar coin became…

America’s, first ever, heads on both sides, legal tender quarter!

On the obverse, per usual (ever since 1932), appears President George Washington… BUT… on the reverse… well… that’s where we discover a zoomed-in, partial image of Mt. Rushmore where not only does gentleman George reappear but so does President Thomas Jefferson!

I do hope this heads-up (not meant to be taken totally serious) blog has helped everyone make heads or tails out of the chancy, “Heads I Win/Heads I Win” South Dakota Coin Toss”. The fate of the entire, decision-making free world just might, someday, hang in the balance??? 😉 (JK)

 

 

Footnote:

1 Considering how five of those nine SCOTUS judges (the Floundering, UnFounding Fathers / muthas) are legislating from the bench… i.e. are hell bent on green-lighting all signed into law, U.S. Constitution gutting legislation… especially (f)laws, which deny average Jane and Joe citizens our freedoms… they would be far too busy to ever help us settle any garden-variety issues. Oh, btw… if you opt to watch this footnote’s linked video, you can save a bit of time by fast forwarding to the juicy details starting at 5:26.

 

 

 

 

Skin & Bones Beauty? (One Quick Limerick #029)

 

Greet Hollywood film stars at their dain-ti-est,

Meet catwalk cadavers at their dead-li-est,

A woman’s healthy physique,

Need not be Barbie Doll™ sleek,

Such narrow parameters! Don’t get possessed!

 

Read more about it here

 

An Alternative Version…

 

With rail thin film actresses, don’t be impressed,

With catwalk cadavers, please, don’t get possessed,

A woman’s healthy physique,

Need not be Barbie Doll™ sleek,

Such narrow parameters aren’t always best!

 

 

You can access more original limericks, poetry and lyrical parodies by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

Message in a Bottle

 

John Donne (1572-1631) once said, “No man is an island.” Indeed, it is damned near impossible for humans to thrive when isolated from one another.

Since it’s inception, our worldwide web’s ability to draw humanity closer together has been nothing short of a miracle. And I wholeheartedly ditto such sentiments when describing the intriguing and extraordinary experience of my blogging here @WordPress.

Each and every time each of us clicks that azure “publish button”, our thoughts instantaneously rush outward, all across our global social network. We’re potentially touching the minds, hearts and souls of our followers as well as the folks who we’ve yet to meet.

As most of us would concur, some of our followers wind up being causal acquaintances while others, in time, may even drift off… to never pass our way again… two ships that pass in the night as it were. Only those of us who wind up mind melding with a kindred spirit or two can truly claim our lives have been enriched… (or for the religiously minded) perhaps even blessed.

Until such virtual meetings occur, what are we bloggers but castaways all… shipwrecked and stranded on our small, uncharted virtual islands… each of us repeatedly tossing our proverbial message in a bottle onto the vast, azure ocean… fully knowing the odds are slim to none that anyone will ever find and read our words… yet still feeling that glimmer of hope that someone, someday, will come to our rescue.

Such rescues begin every time we train our “spyglasses” onto that “little red dot” in the upper right hand corner of our screens. We can take comfort… perhaps even feel jubilation that someone is responding… be it with their LIKE… be it with their FOLLOW.

That on-top-of-the-world moment is akin to seeing the tall ship appearing over the horizon… it’s billowing white sails fluttering in the tropical breezes.

As I frantically wave to you, aboard your approaching virtual vessels, I want to shout out my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has ever reacted to my posts with a LIKE and/or a FOLLOW! Each time this obscure blogger / castaway, lost in the vast sea of humanity, receives such responses to my tossed “message in a bottle” I do feel rescued.

Now, to momentarily set aside all metaphors… I find such input invaluable in helping me figure out what subject matter most interests you. After all, consistently presenting good quality blog content is the best way for any blogger to build and retain one’s following. Without your help, how could I ever expect to become a better blogger?

On a technical note, those of you, who arrive at my site’s homepage won’t automatically be finding any LIKE buttons and comment boxes unless you first click onto each of my blog titles. BUT…

It’s most important that you NEVER, EVER feel any sense of obligation to click any LIKE, or worse yet, do so out of pity. Your honest reaction is paramount, here, so click LIKE ONLY if you’ve really, Really, REALLY found my blogs elevating, enlightening, entertaining and/or enjoyable.

To keep it entirely real… I am neither God’s gift to the blogosphere nor do I ever expect to be. But… with your help, I just might become a wee bit better?

 

 

Wouldn’t Touch That With a 10-Foot Pole?

 

Nearly four decades ago, on a cold, grey, rainy, overcast day, I found myself pounding the pavement ISO employment totally irrelevant to my God given talents. If all went “well” I’d soon be punching retail world’s time clock and giving my all to some employer who’d be giving me next to nothing in return… paying me $2.65 per hour minimum wage. With unemployment being at a then all-time high, I was fully expecting to wind up “drowning” in the sea of applicant faces.

It was late that afternoon, while filling out my application (along with a couple of other wannabes) when, Diane, our prospective boss, came over to chat with us. She had a problem. As it turned out, the three of us comprised fifty percent of all who had shown up for the entire day! She was wondering if we could remember some of the specific details of her help wanted ad’s content.

While reaching into my suit coat’s inner pocket I cheerfully said, “I can do better than that,” adding, “How about all of the details?” as I produced the actual, neatly clipped out newspaper ad.

Long blog short, I got the job. Logically, I had attributed my “success” to the fact that so few people had applied… but that wasn’t really the case. Following the second run of my boss’s help wanted ad, applicant response had been far better.

Well, it wasn’t until about six months afterwards when I found out the real reason. On that day, as Diane and I chatted while unpacking and merchandising a new shipment of Levis™, she told me that she had considered my pre-interview, eager to help attitude (even without any guarantee that she’d be hiring me), the living embodiment of the excellent customer service I’d be providing on the selling floor. And I spent the next 20 years working for the same company… amply proving her assessment of my character had been spot-on.

My overall point being? Each and every day, without even consciously doing so, each and everyone of us winds up putting our true character on display… and the people we meet can and do evaluate us when we’re least expecting it.

Case in point? My 90-year-young next-door neighbors1 have employed a professional groundskeeper. The man usually parks in front of my house and uses my lower driveway to enter their property perched atop his rider lawnmower.

Well, a few days ago, following an overnight, gusty rainstorm, a thin, 3 m / 10 ft. long branch… weighing a scant 0.9 kg / 2 lbs. (tops)… had fallen and blocked access to my driveway. This left that lawn care dude the following options:

  1. Easily snap the branch in half and toss it onto his truck’s long empty trailer.
  2. Quickly slide the branch onto my lawn to get it out of his way.
  3. Totally avoid all the “extra work” and use his clients’ driveway instead.

Had our roles been reversed, at the very least, I would’ve opted for choice “2”.

Need I even say that he chose option “3”? True, I fully realize he was under no obligation to do any work for any non-paying customer… but he did demonstrate to me a level of pettiness, which is most unbecoming of any truly professional businessperson. Moreover, might such an attitude be a reflection of his overall work ethic? After all… don’t customer care and lawn care go hand in hand?

Now, just for the record, I’m neither a lazy man nor did I even come close to working up a sweat re the disposal of that downed branch.

Nonetheless, this incident did provide me an excellent study in human nature… and I did learn much. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

You see, there may come a time, as I get older, where I might need to hire someone to maintain my lawn. And I’m not entirely sure my neighbor’s groundskeeper would be my first choice anymore.

How that guy dealt with that 10 foot long branch begs the question… would I… would you… choose to “touch” such a petty lawn care service (or any other such business firm) with a 10 foot pole?

 

 

1 I say “young” because upon meeting them, you’d judge them to be in their 60s.

 

 

There’s Still So Much More of Our Work to be Done

 

Once again, it’s Labor Day in America… a “holiday” which:

  1. Ushers in the unofficial end of summer.
  2. Reminds students it’s time to return to their classrooms.
  3. Supposedly honors all industrious workers who’ve ever opted in to the once upon a time, time honored, time for money trade-off.

Well, I suppose, two out of three ain’t bad. To elaborate…

Oh, what an inequitable trade off item #3 usually involves.

Oh, what an utterly meaningless holiday this has become. How so?

Well, workers (who can still think for themselves) have become painfully aware of how, typically, their big bosses wallow in their own astronomical, wildly disproportional salaries and perks… how management feels no obligation to pay a living wage, provide job security and offer a comprehensive benefits package (inclusive of health insurance, paid sick / vacation days and pension plans). In some cases, these big shots even shirk their responsibility of providing a hazard-free work environment.

Without a doubt, such woes are closely related to that bloodsucker, who fronts the present-day DC régime (a foul, fetid, festering government / corporate mash-up). Throughout his pathetic, parasitic career, he has, personally, screwed over labor… e.g., stiffed them on paydays, outsourced their jobs and engaged in union busting.

Yet, hypocritically, he feigns outrage over his very own deplorable business tactics… has successfully suckered in his low information, gullible supporters into bogusly believing he’s the “good guy” who will fight to prevent immigrants from “stealing” their jobs.

To emphasize here, he does ALL OF THAT in spite of the fact that immigrants are NOT actually displacing all that many American workers.

You see, what he has failed to mention is how these jobs oft involve FIELDS most Americans would find unappealing. In fact, these jobs LITERALLY CAN INVOLVE FIELDS… the harvesting of fruit and vegetable crops (oft under horrific working conditions). Similar workplace hellholes shackle slave labor to sweatshop sewing machines. Either way, workers toil overtime and work their fingers to the bone while beastly taskmasters (literally?) crack the whip.

SO folks, unless you view these as attractive career opportunities, don’t ever blame immigrants for your having a tough time finding a new job. We should not be envious OF them… we should feel sorrow FOR them. If our society’s priorities weren’t so totally F’d up, instead of ICE agents rounding up and deporting immigrants, federal agents would be driving the reprehensible, slave driver bosses out of America.

I’m sure many of my international readers would concur that my abovementioned woes are hardly unique to America.

I’m sure we, the readers of John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath, would agree his plot presages the horrific, present-day dismal working conditions, crappy wages, workplace violence and societal upheaval.

So what’s a working stiff to do, huh?

Well, the problem solving must begin with a truly enlightened president / world leader, who would NEVER embrace wretched, low road tactics such as fanning the flames of racism. To get totally real here… most joblessness is actually caused by corporate greed, union busting, outsourcing, automation and workers’ lack of training / marketable skills.

No learned leader would ever fight to preserve the abysmal status quo of today’s undereducated and unskilled workforce. Allocating tax dollars to pay unemployed workers, of course, would be still be a necessity BUT how much better life would eventually get were he to also funnel additional funds into programs designed to educate and train his out of work compatriots. Education also must be ongoing… i.e., keep up with each and every new technological advance. In other words, our education does not end until the day each of us dies. For all we know, it doesn’t end even then.

Folks, I saw, first hand, how President Lyndon B. Johnson’s progressively minded government functioned. For four summers (spanning 1963 – 66) my own father, a public school teacher, had applied for and received a generous U.S. government stipend to attend college classes and wound up earning his Masters Degree in Chemistry. Bettering himself resulted in his earning a substantially bigger paycheck… of course, not before teachers had also won the rights to organize labor unions… to collectively bargain for a living wage, benefits and smaller class sizes… to go on strike whenever necessary.

Folks, a strong, healthy, happy, unionized productive workforce plays a major role in making America… indeed, every other nation… great!

This Labor Day… and for as many future Labor Days as it may take… we must remind ourselves that there’s still so much more of our work to be done… and that begins with educating / changing attitudes of governments, management and labor.

Meaningful work, which fully enriches our lives, cannot be ours until governments… not only in America but worldwide… cease and desist from devastating workers’ pay and rights.

Labor Day must, once again, become a true holiday… one, where the powers-that-be wholeheartedly honor each and every trainable person in possession of a strong work ethic… ensure every one of them a living wage, comprehensive benefits package, job security and a hazard free workplace.

 

 

September BlogCast ~ A Heartfelt Plea for Harmony

 

My greetings to all of my WordPress blogging colleagues, followers and visitors! If you’re just here to hear the music, scroll down and start clicking away… these four selections will amply communicate my intended sentiments, which I’ll now further expand on… i.e., should you choose to read onward…

Initially, I found it tough to set the proper mood for this installment of our monthly musical get-together. I had to scuttle my original “hot fun in the summertime” theme… deeming it insensitive and inappropriate in the wake of all the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey… considering how life may never fully return to normal for the millions of flooded out, uprooted survivors in Texas. My heartfelt condolences to folks who lost loved ones and hopes that you, who have survived, can restore your lives as much as possible and can find happiness again.

I’d have to ditto my mood barometer reading regarding all who were recently maimed and slaughtered during the eerily similar, vehicular ISIS terrorist attacks against Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain AND Nazis / Klansmen terrorist assaults against Charlottesville, Virginia. My wholehearted condolences to the all the good people who lost their loved ones and best wishes that the surviving victims recover speedily and as completely as possible. Hopefully, someday soon, happiness will be yours once more.

As if those meteorological and ideological storms weren’t bad enough, already, we, of good conscience, have also been deeply in mourning over the loss of the American presidency. And by saying “presidency” I’m referring to the monumental, leadership vacuum that’s been sucking the air out of the Oval Office… sucking the life force out of my homeland and our global community… all perpetrated by an ethically barren, morally bankrupt, avaricious and vicious, Orwellian, stick-figure figurehead.

In times of trouble, a nation’s citizenry should be able to count on their leader for a comforting pep talk… an FDR-esque, folksy fireside chat as it were… but… alas… long sigh…

Folks, it’s downright depressing and disgusting to observe the cannibalistic, parasitical, so-called prez…

  1. Feeding off the post-hurricane apocalypse’s human suffering… just to sate his voracious narcissistic hungers… just to erect a smokescreen to enshroud his nefarious, fascist political agenda.
  2. Feasting off the ISIS terrorist attacks in Spain just because that’ll wrongfully validate his flat-out hatred of all Muslims1. It is stunning how… practically in the same breath… he lavishes praise upon un-american [sic] Nazis and Klansmen… sucking up to them just so they’ll help reelect him in 2020.

Net effect, the so-called prez, has wildly emboldened these domestic terrorists. Left unchecked, these co-conspirators… the pathetic “prez” and his deplorable pals… will violently subvert all that the real America stands for. We’re likely witnessing the rebirth of Nazi Germany.

So what the hell does that make the so-called prez? An Adolf Hitler / David Duke hybrid? Did some nefarious, eager beaver recombinant DNA scientist mutate him? Did a psychotic psychosurgeon lobotomize / reprogram him? Or was he “merely” born and/or reared that way? Whatever the cause of his mental illness/illnesses, we can only wish him a speedy, complete and permanent recovery. In this modern medical era, no one should be condemned to live out one’s life bouncing off the rubberized walls… be they real or hallucinated.

The real America’s survival… indeed the survival of the whole world… depends on a sane presidency and sound minded leaders elsewhere, too. How else could we ever hope to see our global population live in harmony?

That plea for harmony is from where I now take my musical cue… set the tone for this month’s BlogCast.

Folks, I find the negativity of what I just blogged… to say the least… disturbing. What else can I conclude than negative leaders bring out the worst in me, indeed, in every like-minded, warmhearted, ethical patriot who truly gives a damn? And that has got to change… starting with the legal, orderly and peaceable ouster of such negative entities.

But, until the day that becomes reality… I believe the following music will provide an ear and eye opening… a mind expanding and mood elevating experience.

Accompanying only my sparse, supplemental commentary, I’ll now let the songwriters’ and singers’ sentiments speak for themselves.

Ray Stevens ~ Everything Is Beautiful

Admittedly, I would’ve preferred this track’s religious undercurrents to have been more inclusive of faiths other than Christianity… but… when we consider the less globalized era in which this song was first composed and recorded, would not genuine believers of all religious stripes be forgiving? Additionally, I sincerely believe one can also be agnostic and still be fully capable of concurring with the overall message of unity. Oh, btw, you can also give a listen to an alternate track featuring a duet performed by Ray Stevens and another of this month’s BlogCast featured artists, Glen Campbell.

The New Seekers ~ I’d Love To Teach The World To Sing

Many decades ago a slightly, lyrically modified, abridged version of this song became the soundtrack to a Coca Cola™ commercial, which you can view here.

Glen Campbell ~ Try A Little Kindness

I joyfully rediscovered this track just one week ago upon purchasing the late Mr. Campbell’s greatest hits CD… after finding it while grocery shopping at my local supermarket superstore. I first heard Campbell perform on the late Sixties era, “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” TV show… a program with a distinctly, politically progressive POV… from where I derived own liberal attitude. Campbell died just a few short weeks ago on August 8, 2017. You can access a video tribute.

Peter, Paul & Mary ~ Weave Me The Sunshine

Peter Yarrow will now introduce this BlogCast finale… thusly…

“‘Weave Me The Sunshine’  became a very big hit in South Africa and in Brazil and ultimately of course it’s a song that has found it’s way into many churches and synagogues.”

About all I could possibly add, here, (as is true with nearly all folk music) it’s nearly impossible not to sing along with this upbeat and uplifting tune. And I recommend that we all add our voices… sing it loudly… sing it proudly… trump all of those negative vibes. Let us all spread outward its unifying, harmonizing message (indeed, the messages from all four of these songs) to all four corners of our world.

Thank you for listening on this day. If you LIKE what you heard, click back here

for my next BlogCast on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

Past programs are archived in my BlogCast and music categories.

 

 

 

1 We, who still can and do think clearly, fully realize that ISIS has mutilated and muddied true Islam and now exploits it just to justify their deadly, bloody attacks.