Working on a post now. I promise to put something up before 10:00 p.m. EST.
I’ve spent the past month with family and clients, none of whom I could turn down when they asked for my help and time, but I will blog tomorrow. I promise!
I owe everyone who comes here an apology for my minimalist posting of late. The fact is that family matters swamped me in November and lately, by the end of each day, I’ve had the choice of posting or sleeping — and I chose sleeping every time.
Beginning in early November, I spent eight days helping out a relative who unexpectedly found herself entirely alone after a major surgery when her original caregiver bailed. I was very glad to help, but it was tiring. I am not, by nature, a caregiver, so it seems to take a little more out of me than for those people who so effortlessly manage to fulfill other’s needs.
Also, the trips there and back were exhausting. On my outgoing trip, after traveling by air for 13 hours (including two layovers that, because of delays, saw me twice racing from the far end of one terminal to the far end of another to catch connecting flights), I had another four hours of driving to do that same day . . . in a strange car that I’d never driven before.
The homeward bound trip was less tiring — only 13 hours of air travel without the 4 hour drive — but I was reminded that my spring chicken days are long behind me. I was exhausted when I got home and simply couldn’t get back on my feet again. [Read more…]
I’ll be on the move for the next week, so I cannot promise regular blogging. But….
As you’ve noticed by now, Wolf Howling has instituted a wonderful new daily feature talking about historic happenings on a given day. Because Wolf Howling is one of the most historically literate people I’ve ever met, not to mention a compelling and vivid writer, I can guarantee that you will learn from and enjoy every single one of these daily history updates.
I’ve also lined up a few videos that I think are worth watching, so they’ll be posting on a daily basis. In addition, I believe that I’ll be able to post at least periodically, and I may try to do a podcast or two as well.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the snowfall that came overnight to my new home in Tennessee. Isn’t the above picture lovely? I also wanted to share with you a picture I took last week at Black Mingo Creek, just outside of Indiantown, South Carolina.
We are blessed to live in such a lovely country.
If you believe in re-electing President Trump and advancing Constitutional American values, you must subscribe to conservative internet sites.
Once upon a time, big internet sites relied on advertising to pay for technology and staff. As ads began to clutter websites, slowing loading, and resulting in irritating pop-ups, internet users turned to ad-blocking apps. Indeed, because I am security conscious, my entire browser — the Brave browser — is a unified ad blocking app. I should feel guilty about this because I have ads on the blog, but I apparently can live with the hypocrisy. Moreover, considering that I bring in the low double digits in ad revenue every month, I suspect many of my readers also have ad blockers.
Some internet sites have responded to ad blockers by asking readers to “white list” the site, which means the site’s ads bypass the ad blocker,either by appealing to their sense of fairness or by blocking access until the readers do white list it. If I like the site, I will use the white list feature. If I’m just surfing and stumble across something, I probably won’t. I can be fair, but not that fair.
The ad / ad-blocking cat and mouse game between users and websites has forced internet sites to come up with other ideas. One thing they learned from watching the struggles traditional media outlets had with getting revenue is that you can’t offer the product for free and then suddenly snatch it away with the demand that people pay to regain access. Most people, even though they know that a favored site was hemorrhaging money during that “free” period, feel cheated if they can no longer read news and analysis that once cost them nothing more than the inconvenience of ads or getting an ad blocker. That’s human nature.
A few months ago, I decided to give ProtonMail a try. I did this for two reasons: (1) it’s encrypted from end to end and (2) I hate being dependent on Google, which is an intellectually corrupt corporation.
The problem is that ProtonMail may well have the worst email interface since 1993 . . . or maybe ever. I get a lot of emails every day and it’s just so onerous reviewing and responding to them through the ProtonMail interface. Being weak, I procrastinate, which is irresponsible and unkind of me.
In the interest of convenience, I’m therefore (with a heavy sigh) once again making my bookwormroom at gmail account my official email for all blogging purposes. If you’ve been writing to me at ProtonMail, please change the address to the gmail address.
My apologies for the upheaval and inconvenience.
During the Great Depression, there used to be a genre of New Yorker cartoons that riffed off a common sign seen on empty store fronts: “Watch this space.” The promise was that something exciting eventually occupy that watched space and, sometimes, exciting things did occur.
I’m asking you to watch this space today, because I have a post and podcast all teed up and . . . not quite ready to go. I still have a few more tweaks, but before I can publish, I have to take my dog to the vet (nothing serious).
As soon as I get back, I’ll get things up, running, and published. So please, watch this space.
Thanks so much to everyone for their feedback about Leftists who hog the bandwidth in the comments. The poll showed a strong preference for banning Sarah Waggoner entirely. However, when I read through the comments, the feedback was more nuanced. The most contented people were those who blocked her on their own initiative, putting the power in their own hands. Those who love a good debate argued in favor of keeping her on. And others wished that they could just limit the number of her posts. (Sadly, that last is impossible.)
I’ve decided that, for the time being, I’ll make sure that everyone knows how to block someone on Disqus. That way, people can take matters into their own hands. If you wish to block Sarah Waggoner, start going to one of her comments. If you move your cursor to the far right after her name, a little downward-pointing arrow will appear, indicating a pull down box. Click on the arrow and you’ll see a menu giving you the choice to block that person: [Read more…]
I like having comments at the Bookworm Room. I’m fortunate enough to have exceptionally intelligent readers, so their comments always add substance to my posts. I’m also willing to allow Leftists who are polite and interesting to comment, even if I know they’re minions of troll pod. Part of being informed is hearing what the other side has to say.
What I will not allow, though, are people whose comments are obscene, abusive, or threatening. I also do not want to host people who flood the comment section, effectively taking over discourse and driving out others who do not want 150 notices in their email with comments that are effectively spam.
As long-time readers know, I eventually got stuck with a Leftist Borg troll whom I couldn’t block using my traditional methods. That’s why I’ve switched over to the irritating comment moderation system. Under the old system, I could block bad guys, but everyone else could comment freely. Under the new system, only approved people can post, which gives me greater control. The first time someone posts, I review their post and their record. If they’re civil, I grant them future access — but I can always withdraw this access if they abuse the privilege. [Read more…]
To all of you who filled out my Bookworm Room contact form and never heard from me — I am so sorry. I had a major hole in my thinking and entirely missed your messages.
I know that there’s a “contact Bookworm” tab on my blog. It was set up a long time ago, and I kind of forgot about it. If I thought about it, it was that it simply gave an email address to contact me. If I’d actually checked it out and seen the contact form, I would have assumed that the contacts automatically routed to my email.
Oh, boy, was I wrong! While I was updating my WordPress today, I started poking around at dashboard buttons I’ve always ignored. One of them was labeled “feedback,” which I’d always assumed, without bothering to verify, contained messages from WordPress that were of more interest to my webmaster than to me. It was only today, for the first time, that I clicked on that link and found, to my absolute horror, that all the messages from people who filled out my “contact” form were hiding behind that “feedback” link. Nothing got forwarded. It all just sat there.
I’m going to start now sending out apologies to every single person who filled out the form and who never heard back from me. This will take a long time because the “feedback” page doesn’t include any easy way to reply to people. I’ll have to block and copy each email address into my email account.
This post is my public apology. I am so very sorry I ignored you. There is no excuse for my failure to do so. I was thoughtless and lazy. [Read more…]
I’ve come to two conclusions about ads within my posts: (a) I earn almost nothing from them and (b) they’re visual clutter that slows loading.
I’m therefore about to embark on an experiment with a new way of (possibly) generating revenue from my blog: a donation button that, in theory, gives those inclined to do so an easy way to leave me tips, whether through PayPal or a credit card.
(This is the point at which I should do the shtick about the price of a cup of coffee or a monthly subscription to a newspaper, but I’ll spare you.)
For a while at least, you’ll see the following at the bottom of my posts. I’d like to know what you think, of course. You don’t have to give anything, but do press buttons and see how it works. I’d like your take on this experiment.
I owe an apology to anyone whose comments haven’t been showing up. I’ve been keeping track of comments that Disqus had held for moderation. What I haven’t been paying too much attention to, though, was my spam folder, which usually catches such spam-worthy things as excessive links, obscenities, offers to help out with erectile dysfunction, etc.
What came as a shock to me today was learning that, for some inexplicable reason, for the last month Disqus has been catching in spam comments from regular commentors (commenters? I’m never sure how to spell that word) — and, moreover, comments that don’t have a scintilla of anything spammy about them.
I’ve cleared most of those trapped comments from spam now. I apologize to those of you who saw perfectly innocuous — and usually very interesting — comments go nowhere. I’ll try to stay abreast of that more often.
I was reviewing my Disqus moderation file and found a comment from three weeks ago that’s been sitting around gathering dust. I thought you all might like to see the maturity level of a person who frequently posts comments at Bookworm Room:
I’ve been unable successfully to ban this person from commenting because he’s mastered the art of a floating URL, not to mention constantly changing email addresses. I can only request that you stop feeding him by responding to his comments. As far as I’m concerned, someone who could write that kind of comment isn’t yet mature enough for respectful debate.
For reasons best known to itself, the Leftist who comments under the name “GregorM” keeps coming back — and I keep banning it (which he circumvents by playing IP games) and then deleting its comments. It’s a little game we play. Please don’t feel any obligation to respond to it, as it craves attention. This post will be the last attention it receives from me and it’s only to keep the rest of you apprised about what’s going on.
Photo credit: TROLLGORE and jim, by Serra Boten. Creative Commons; some rights reserved.
For a couple of weeks now, a person named “John” has been posting comments here. John strongly disagrees with the tenor of this blog. He’s called me some pretty nasty names and argued with my conclusions, but I’ve ignored him for the most part. I didn’t feel his facts, analyzes, or conclusions were compelling enough to merit my attention. Many of you, however, have been engaging with John, whether for fun (I know who you guys and gals are), or to try to make substantive points about what he’s said. I’ve enjoyed very much what you all have written.
Once other people engaged, John expanded the scope of his abusive language and his obscenities. I’ve turned a blind eye to a lot of it, because I do believe in having a free and open forum for ideas.
However, even I have limits. This was my limit:
That goes beyond the rhetorical pale. There is no place whatsoever in the civilized exchange of ideas to advocate drowning children. That’s not an argument, that’s vile abuse. I’ve therefore banned John from this blog. If I did the ban correctly, his past comments will remain, but he will no longer be allowed any future comments.
Despite blogging for my own pleasure and being delighted that you come to visit, should you feel like making a purely voluntary donation, I’m fundraising.
It’s been quite a long time since I last made a direct appeal to you for donations. As always, I’m rather ambivalent about this request. On the one hand, I write because it’s both a pleasure and an outlet. I’m delighted every day that all of you come here to read what I have to say and, often, stay and talk about it. Your contributions are themselves of great value. On the other hand, it’s always nice to get money for the time and effort I put into this blog — something that’s true even though my work here is a great pleasure and entirely voluntary on my part.
Speaking of things being entirely voluntary, if you feel so inclined, I would be very happy if you made a one-time contribution to the Bookworm Room. If you don’t, no worries — just keep coming back to enjoy the content here. And if you really like what I have to say and think it contributes to the national conversation, share it with your friends.
Image credit: Hand Putting Deposit Into Piggy Bank, by Ken Teegardin of www.SeniorLiving.Org. Creative commons; some rights reserved.