Just a reminder about some good blogs out there

I’ve been up and  working since 6 a.m., and now it’s 5, and I’m still trying to finish the must-do tasks before I get to the I-want-to-do tasks.  Since I’m stalled, though, I wanted to remind you about two of my favorite blog friends, both of whom are also real world friends.  Here are the links so that you can peruse good stuff, from good, smart people:

To Put It Bluntly

Castra Praetoria

And of course, you should always consider visiting every member of the Watcher’s Council:

I think I’ve gotten rid of the autoplay videos

I hate autoplay videos as much as I do — but some of the videos I posted seem to have had autoplay code in them.  I’ve deleted the videos that I thought were the problem.  Please let me know if the problem persists — and,  most especially, which posts have that problem.  Since I’m not much of a code person, I’ll just delete them.

Trying out a totally cool plug-in

One of the great things about getting to know fellow bloggers is getting good tips.  I recently got to meet (via phone) Warner Todd Huston, a regular contributor at Breitbart.  Not only is he a very nice, and manifestly smart, guy, he also gave me a tip about a cool plug-in for WordPress.  It’s called PhotoDropper, and it gives you easy access to a library of millions of free images that don’t have any copyrights attached to them.  Seeing as I am both cheap and honest, I always try to use Creative Commons images so that I don’t have to pay or steal.  The problem is that it’s hard to find those images.  With this plug-in, though, they’re at my finger tip (or maybe I mean to say that they’re just a mouse-click away).

So, within seconds, I get a license-free image with Obama being disrespectful by showing the soles of his shoes.  (Proving, I guess, that he’s not a Muslim after all.)

The Obama's on election night 2008

Another click, and I’ve got Keanu Reeves (you guys know how I feel about him) — for free! It’s not a good picture, but it’s an honest one.

Keanu Reeves

I’ll still go out searching for other pictures. I love Victorian stuff, and I know that’s copyright free, but it’s kind of relaxing to know there’s something out there that relieves me of the worry that I’m cheating.

A slight change at the Bookworm Room

Here’s an update on the new gig I told you about.  For the foreseeable future, I will be the main original content provider at Mr. Conservative — a site that, unknown to most people by name, is one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the internet.  Unlike Bookworm Room, where I write about whatever interests me, and fill my posts with a lot of personal commentary, the pieces I write for Mr. Conservative’s site riff off of news stories.  In some, I’m just flat-out reporting.  In others, I add a little bit of me to the mix.

What I’m ending up with is a sort of Venn diagram, with an area of overlap between the me posts and the Mr. Conservative posts:

Overlapping post content

To the extent that there’s overlap — that is, I write a post for Mr. Conservative that is the same as a post I would write on my blog — I’m re-posting my work here and noting at the bottom that it originally appeared at Mr. Conservative’s site. I’m telling you this now so that you know that it is my work.  I could leave these posts only on Mr. Conservative, but I want to re-post those pieces here, at Bookworm Room, so that they can be part of the delightful, ongoing conversation that we have here.  I will also continue to post entirely original content, unique to Bookworm Room (such as this post).

For me, doing things this way means that I only have to write once about something that matters to me. Since I’m providing lots of original content that’s exclusive to Mr. Conservative, as well as the original content that is near and dear to my heart at Bookworm Room, it’s nice to cut a few procedural corners occasionally as to those things that overlap without actually diminishing quality.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this. I’m excited to be earning money, but the job does require a fair amount of work. Doing some post-sharing seems like the most efficient way to get the endless flow of words in my brain out to the right places.

Why I had a very good weekend

I wrote earlier today that something good had happened.  I won’t go into too much detail, because I don’t want to ill wish myself at this stage in the game, but I can tell you a little.

I’m trained as a lawyer, and I’ve worked as a lawyer — writing and researching — for more than a quarter of a century now.  During my first four years as a lawyer, I just hated it.  I had no idea what I was doing, and did not find mentors to help me out.  To make it worse, imbued as I was with a whiny mid-1980s feminism, I was not a cheerful employee.  Despite the fact that they were paying me ridiculous amounts of money for my negligible skill level, I felt that they owed me something, rather than the other way around.

After those first four years, I found a mentor (who, incidentally, helped pave my way intellectually for becoming conservative) and began to enjoy the intellectual chase.  Finding  just the right case law to help a client, and then writing a compelling, elegant brief was very satisfying.  Eventually, though, I got jaded.  Bay Area judges are moved as much by liberal navel gazing as they are by the law itself.  Eventually, I didn’t want to keep banging my head against that wall.

Meanwhile, I had children, and my energies first dissipated and, when they returned, they had shifted.  As my children grew up, I discovered that I was fascinated by politics and that I love writing about politics and social issues.  Honestly, it’s an incredible pleasure to write when the worst that can happen is that someone points out that you made a mistake.  In all my years as a lawyer, I’ve never gotten over the fear that I may make a mistake that results in my client being terribly damaged and in me being sued for malpractice.  The fact that I never have made such a mistake has not taken the edge away. In fact, in some ways it makes things worse, because I fear complacency.

Once I started my blog, and certainly after I’d honed this craft for a while, I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up:  become a paid writer.  Not a paid legal writer, but just a paid writer.  Probably to your great irritation, I’ve been trying to monetize this blog for years, but if I make enough to pay for one airplane ticket to the East Coast per year, I’m doing exceptionally well with my writing.

Things changed for me Friday.  I got an email out of the blue asking me if I wanted to provide content for someone’s blog.  I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t remember this guy’s  name, even though we’d been in touch a couple of times several years back. Embarrassed, but not surprised.  I have a chiaroscuro memory, dappled light and dark. I remember the copyright year of almost all the books I’ve read, I can list all the kings and queens of England from Edward III to the present day, I know the lyrics to an insane number of songs from the 30s and 40s, I’ll remember if you have children and what they do, but I won’t remember your name.  I’ve humiliated myself on more than one occasion with this gaping hole in my memory, and my response to this man’s email was no different.  “Excuse me, but who are you?”  Fortunately, he wasn’t offended by my memory failing or, if he was, he didn’t let it get in the way.

He has an up-and-coming website and, as he said, he needs help with content.  He’s a truly gifted salesman with a wide and deep understanding of how money flows in the blogosphere.  He’s been able to create crazy traffic levels, but writing is not his thing, and he’s exhausting himself trying to keep up with traffic flow.

This weekend was by way of an experiment. I wrote stuff for him to see if I could match my style to his needs, and he posted my work to see if it kept his readers happy.  So far, all is good.

My husband was a bit worried that I was providing all this content for free (asking, with reason, “How do you know that he won’t stiff you?”), but I explained (a) that I didn’t think this man would stiff me and (b) that my work was a loss leader and those can be risky.  Since I like writing, it was a financial risk, but not a painful one.  Here’s the irony:  After my husband and I finished this discussion, I opened my email to find out that the man had sent money, nice money, to my PayPal account.  I like it when my gut is right and my risks (which are usually small, because I’m not a gambler) are rewarded.

This weekend ended up being a bit chaotic, because I was fulfilling both the new blog’s needs and my family’s needs (which were very time-consuming this weekend).  Weekdays will be smoother because, in a way and for the first time in years, I’ll have a real job.  (That is, assuming this grand experiment works for both me and the other guy.)

Don’t worry, though, that I’ll give up this blog.  I may do some cross-posting (the posts I do for him cross-posted here, not vice versa), but mostly I want to keep Bookworm Room going because I’m so happy here.  The work I do for him is news reporting type stuff.  The work I do here is a conversation between me and you about wonky political issues, hot news topics, foreign policy, national security, social issues, education, etc.  Leaving here would be like walking away from my life’s party while I’m still having fun.

Still, I’m really, really happy.  I’ve always had this feeling, irrational though it seemed for many years, that all my blogging was leading somewhere.  I wasn’t getting paid, I was writing when I should have been doing that gosh-danged laundry, I ignored my kids a bit (benign neglect, of course), but this work seemed important to me.  I’d like to think that it was preparing me for a project that is good now and has the potential to get very much better.

Wish me luck, please.  With this guy’s enormous sales, marketing, and internet talents, my writing chops, and your wishes, something good might be happening here.

The 11th Annual Blogger Awards

I’m always a bridesmaid in these things, and never a bride, but I’m still beyond thrilled that John Hawkins included me as a nominee in the 11th Annual Blogger Awards for CPAC.  I’m right there under “Best Kept Secret Award.”  Indeed, right now, I’m so secret that the link is to my old WordPress blog.  I sent a note to John about that, though, so I know it will be fixed soon.

I was also delighted to see that a lot of my blog friends got nominated too.  I was especially happy to see The Mellow Jihadi as a People’s Choice nominee.  Navy One has been a friend of this blog since before he started blogging, and he’s become one of my personal friends as well.  I’m so delighted that he’s getting this kind of recognition.

Other friends of mine (meaning that I a lot of email correspondence with them) who have been nominated are YidWithLid, The Jawa Report, and Doug Ross,

Having acknowledged myself and my friends, let me say that John is spot-on in all of his selections.  Each of the blogs named is a high quality blogs that deserves recognition for providing a true form of alternative media.  If you blog, please consider broadcasting this list of nominees, since the more readership they get, the less believability the drive-by media gets.

The last thing left for me to do is to figure out how to lobby the CPAC voters for this one.  I’ve got their beer and party favors all lined up….  ;)

Yikes! WordPress is putting everyone’s comments in WordPress purgatory

Spammers have launched a major attack against Bookworm Room. I’m happy to say that the Azkimet spam control function in WordPress is working, in that it’s not publishing all those fake trackbacks and links.  That’s good.  The bad thing is that Azkimet, overwhelmed by the deluge of both decent and indecent comments, has decided to put every comment and trackback into the “pending” (or as I call it, “purgatory”) category.  This means that your comments will not publish immediately.  Instead, I have to approve each of them.

I’m in contact with my Webmaster, so I know this problem will be resolved, I just can’t say when that will happen.  Until then, please bear with the fact that your comments will vanish pending my approval.

A new forum for conservative thinkers

Lots of conservatives are realizing that the media is more, not less, powerful now that it’s abandoned its pretend objectivity and become blatantly partisan.  Rather than running away, voters gobbled up the media message.  Frankly, I don’t get it, but that’s why I’m not a master of advertising and manipulation.

In response to the realization that conservatives are no longer even allowed in the media as tokens, more conservatives are using the internet to set up alternative forums.  One of these, which is still in Beta form, is Pollis, which is a social network that aims to connect bloggers and readers.  As a blogger who is always looking for readers, I find idea intriguing.  So I signed up.

I also liked the idea of Pollis because it’s using incentives to get bloggers to come on board — and to bring their existing readers with them.  I’m a big fan of incentives.  As a blogger, I’ve been assigned a unique code:  A1B93EF3. If you decide to enroll in Pollis, and if you use this unique code when you register, you and I both get submitted into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card.  This is a good deal for me.  The more of you that sign up, the greater my chance of winning.  It’s not such a good deal for you, because the more of you that sign up, each of you has a smaller chance of winning.  Sadly, life is not fair.

Gift cards aside, I strongly believe in anything that allows conservatives to create vibrant intellectual forums.  We’re going to need them in the coming years.

Another conservative information clearinghouse

Yesterday, I directed your attention to Ritely, which aims to be the conservative answer to Reddit.  Ritely is easy to use:  posting articles takes seconds and it’s got a clear format for finding other people’s posted articles.  Today, I get to tell you about Helen’s Page, a conservative information clearinghouse that Glenn Reynold’s wife started.  It too has an easy interface and straightforward format.

I strongly urge you to check out and use these two sites.  Right now, conservatives rely heavily on sites that are owned by very Leftist companies (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, Blogger, YouTube, etc.).  Most of the time, we don’t think about it, but the fact remains that these are privately run sites and they can — and do — censor at will.  Not surprisingly, their censorship trends to silencing the right, as Gates of Vienna recently discovered.  My email is rich with stories from fellow bloggers telling about being banned from Facebook or Twitter.

I’m planning on using both Ritely and Helen’s Page regularly.  I like the way they’re set up, I like the audience they reach, and I like the fact that they’re not going to censor me just because I’m a conservative.

Incidentally, this kind of networking — sharing both ideas and practical information — is precisely what conservatives need to do if they are serious about remaining politically viable.

Please welcome a new addition to the intelligent side of the blogosphere

An old friend of mine, a person distinguished by an open, intelligent mind, a large fund of knowledge, and wonderful writing skills, has just started a blog:  To Put It Bluntly.  As I expected, the early posts are smart and enjoyable. What’s also nice is that it’s a beautifully designed site that’s easy on the eyes.

If you’re looking for something new to read, please stop by To Put It Bluntly and say hello.