It’s important enough to public health that most of us can get one for free. It may inconvenience you, it may hurt a little, and it may even provoke a strong immune response that makes you feel like crap for a day. But it protects you, your loved ones, and your community from a deadly disease.
You could call this post “mental compost,” wherein I throw the mental scraps about reusing content, self-plagiarism, and even propaganda into one post, shake it up, and hope it will fertilize new ideas.
The same folks who decry “political correctness” and clamor for the right to be rude and aggressively offensive are the same ones who whine whenever someone finds them…offensive.
Now and then, it’s a good idea to step back from the blog and take an objective look at its design and usability. Better yet, ask a few friends to do it!
Here’s a checklist of things to look at when reviewing your blog, or a friend’s.
We needn’t contort every word, twisting bad to mean good, and sick to mean amazing. This is just obfuscation and lunacy.
I thought, not for the first time today, that I need a little sand and sun. It’s been too long since I went parasailing, upside down, while watching dolphins play ping-pong with a shark. Or since I floated, laughing, unable to sink, in the warm salty water near Miami, smooth as glass and clear enough to see my toes squishing in the sand. And as I re-read the question, I thought, How can I not write a descriptive paragraph about the beach? But what came out, like a tiny hermit crab from a tiny painted shell, wanted to be poetry, not paragraphs.
I am resisting the urge to “metablog” as my friend Dave M once put it. Blogging about blogging. Writing about writing (or writers). Neither of those things are very interesting to anyone but bloggers and writers. It’s like all the backstage action at a theater: fun for the theater geeks, but not so much for the audience.
Gerald, the lawn gnome, had grown tired of being “cute.” He had looked it up, one night, in a dictionary Elizabeth had carelessly left lying on the front stoop. It did not mean handsome, or manly, or noble. No, “cute” was something whimsical and trivial and Gerald had been in a foul mood ever since he’d learned the […]
What was that hackneyed advice someone always trotted out, eager to prove they knew nothing at all about the process of writing? Ahh, yes: “Write what you know.”
Ah, that Little Mermaid – what did she know? They say the sand is always more appealing on the other side of the water’s surface. I lay back on the little wind-surfer board and let my fingers trail in the water. There wasn’t even a hint of a breeze; I was just drifting with the […]
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is the last car we have available.” The agent shook his head at the monitor and shrugged. It was a small, older car, and no one had a key to the trunk, it seemed. The family ahead of me would never get all their bags into it, clearly, and they […]
If the mere idea of death makes you queasy, just skip this post. There’s really nothing morbid about the National Museum of Funeral History, but I know people who shudder at the thought and refuse to go explore it, despite death being a natural, inevitable part of life. Before I tell you about that, then, […]
Since shuttering my Facebook accounts, including WhatsApp and Instagram, I have had time to explore alternatives. I’ve tried out Viber and Signal, but the only Messenger replacement I’m really enjoying – while trying to recruit more users to make it more fun and interesting – is Telegram. In terms of privacy and security, it’s much […]
Meditation There are natural nothing-thinkers in the world; I’m not one of them. The directive to “make your mind a blank” tends to have the opposite effect on me, like, “don’t think of pink elephants sipping Cosmos on the moon.” I try to think of nothing, but it’s a half-hearted effort. At best, I just […]
Most of the images on this blog are mine. The few that I did not take, myself, are used with permission, licensed under creative commons, or public domain images. But I prefer to use my own, and as digital cameras and camera phones improve in quality and usability, they also produce much larger files that […]
It’s SUMMER! It’s a LINK PARTY! Remember summer scavenger hunts, running through the streets with a list of things to bring back from the neighbors? Only kids can get by with that sort of thing, I think! It was fun while it lasted, but just try asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar, a […]
Face facts: some are ruled by hope and some by fear. All are mortal, even you. Yes, even you, Comrade, with your hundred smiling Facebook faces. Each keystroke, rat-a-tat-tat, fires gunshots Branding terror, while jaded papparazzi Offer bounties for another shot, a One-time deal, exceptional, American Killings as natural as apple pies. Mitchell Allen is […]
Why on Earth in April? The poet T.S. Eliot famously declared: April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. The cruelest thing about it was expecting restless high schoolers, too fresh-faced to have experienced life, death, and all the memories between, […]
Queen of the No-Niche Bloggers, that is! Rasheed Hooda, aka, “Mister Weirdo,” (never to be confused with Mr. Weirdo) – the man who, at age 62, walked from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Barbara, California, has handed me the virtual scepter in his post, “My Favorite No-Niche Bloggers.” I have apparently fallen down on the SEO, […]
I read a student essay, recently, that I would swear was written by someone for whom English was a second (or distant third) language. The conspicuous overuse of a thesaurus was one red flag. The more I thought about it, the more certain I was that it was written on Fiverr and spun through an […]
Is it jif, as in JIF brand peanut butter? Or gif, as in gift? Seems a strange thing for a giraffe to quibble over, especially if the inventor calls it jif. Weird words lead to weird arguments. Does the parent get to name the baby, or must he follow linguistic conventions? To say gif seems […]
I am weirdly competitive. I thought it was just me, but my friend Allie mentioned being “highly competitive when it doesn’t count” and I just burst out laughing. Now I find that my friend Mitch has a little streak of it; he rose to the challenge of writing a whole blog post without commas. Just […]
The Reading Drought How does someone who loves to read, who considers themselves an avid reader, end up going through long, dry spells without actually cracking open a book? This feels like the unburdening confession of a dirty secret I’ve lugged around far too long. I should have Googled sooner: It’s not just me. Read, […]