Category Archives: Blogger

The Pretentious Blogging Meme 2

More navel-gazing via Sunday stealing.

12. How many drafts of potential blog posts do you have right now?

102. Some of them are for dates past. Will they become blogposts? Dunno. Some will, in all likelihood.

13. In what medium do you draft your posts?

In the Blogger thingy. It has an autosave feature, but I hit the save button frequently anyway. Occasionally, Blogger won’t save, and I end up copying and pasting the post in an e-mail to myself. Even my WordPress blog I do in Blogger, mostly because I never figured out how to size pictures in WP.

14. How often do you completely scratch or delete drafts or blog post ideas?

Maybe three or four times a year. What a pain, mostly because blogging time is so finite.

15. If you had to leave your blog in your will to another blogger, who would you choose?

There’s a woman in my office who used to blog. Her.

16. Are there other blogs that you feel are similar to yours in content, style, or voice?

Well, yes, no, maybe. Obviously I think my voice is unique, but that’s true of everyone. I think that there are elements of my blogging style in a number of blogs. I tend to think many other blogs are more singularly focused than mine. Maybe I should have five blogs or something, but I’d find it irritatingly compartmentalizing.
I pretty much hate most categories. The only categories I have for the bulk of my CDs are classical and pop. Classical is anything where the composer is above the title, whether that be Beethoven, Gershwin or Scott Joplin. Pop is everything else.

17. Has anything surprised you since you started blogging?

Yes, that I’m still doing it every day. That anyone reads it. That occasionally people are moved by what I write, often unexpectedly. That I have found it not just enjoyable but occasionally useful.

18. What are your goals or plans for your blog going forward?

Blog less. Or absent that, cloning.

19. Do you make any money from your blog? (optional) about how much a month?

No, though I’ve gotten some swag.

20. What blogging system do you use?

Does this mean Blogger? Or does mean chaos? Actually one of my blogs is in WordPress.

21. How did you come up your blog name?

From a radio guy called Rambling with Gambling. Oh, and my first name; I liked the partial alliteration.

22. How many blogs do you have? What was your peak?

Seven. Seven. Fortunately three are shared. Oddly, the most difficult one is the one for which I write once a month; more pressure, I think.

23. Are you having as much fun as when you started?

It ebbs and flows. Surely more than when I FIRST started when I had no idea what I was going to write the next day, or what my credo of blogging was. (I have a credo of blogging?)

24. Where do you find other bloggers like you?

Blog friends of blog friends.

25. What’s your one wish when it comes to blogging?

Steve Martin answered this long time ago here.


Date afternoon

One of the things those relationship “experts” always say is that, in order to keep a relationship strong, you need to continue to “date” your spouse/s.o. It’s ESPECIALLY necessary when you have children.

So we decided on a date afternoon this past Sunday. We used to do it once a month, in the middle of the month (we got married on 15 May), but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. The trick about Sunday is that it was communion Sunday (which means a longer service) AND the wife was partially in charge of the after-service snacks. And because my wife’s a deacon, people had things to ask her. So while she was talking, I struck up a conversation with someone. It turns out she kept talking because I was talking, and I was talking because SHE was talking. By this point, our babysitter, who had previously had just been sitting around, had engaged in conversation.

So, it’s 12:45 pm by the time we get home. too late really to feed the child and get to the 1 pm movies. So instead we went out to a restaurant. It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant called Ma Moun. The food was good, but we were mildly worried that no one else came in the whole time we were there.

Then we went to Staples to buy a paper shredder. Tres romantique, n’est-ce pas? Except that it was just nice even doing something that mundane. the cool thing was that they were on sale 25%. The confusing thing was that the one we decided on was only marked down from $79.95 to $74.95; a larger machine would have cost the same. We took it to the counter for a price check and stated our confusion with that minimal discount; the clerk called the manager, who surveyed the situation and said, “How much do you want to pay for it?” Well, since you asked…The manager took $15 off, and the $59.95 was what we had in mind. Usually it’s the wife who picks up on these pricing discrepancies, but this time I sussed it out.

It was a nice date.
Did that radio thing I was worried about yesterday; I haven’t heard it yet, but once the nausea went away, I guess it went OK. I’ll listen to it when it’s available.
Yesterday afternoon about 5 pm, Joe Fludd, long-time FantaCo customer, e-mailed me with the sad news that Nic Morrison, another FantaCo regular who worked there for a time had died. I enjoyed seeing Nic around from time to time. As the obit noted, he “entered into eternal life on his 47th birthday, October 1, 2009, at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital, ten days after suffering a devastating stroke.” The wake was Sunday, the funeral yesterday; had I known sooner, I might have made one or the other. Quoting a mutual friend, “Nic was a gentle soul and a good person. 47 is too young.”
Apparently, Blogger has a limit of 2000 labels, and I have reached that threshold. Thus, e.g., I cannot add Nic Morrison to the label. Sometime when I have absolutely nothing better to do, I will deal with relabeling fifty-three months of blogging.

Web changes

Someone asked on a listserv, “Does anyone know of a service for tracking not just website changes, but exactly what content on the webpage changed?” As a result of the question, I joined ChangeDetect, a free web page monitoring system. It’s my intention to add all of the web sites and blogs which I follow that do not offer an RSS feed, but I’ve only gotten around to tracking the website of my ol’ friend Fred Hembeck thus far.

So how does it work? So far, fine, though the e-mail notification takes about a day from the actual site change. Still, when I actually get around to using it more frequently, it’ll beats going to the page and seeing the same old stuff.
Blogger has this feature where it’ll let you know when an RSS-equipped blog on the sidebar was last updated. I discovered, however, that if the blog poster says the post was entered two days ago, it’ll note on my blog that the blog was posted two days ago.
I used to have something called Jigli on my side panel, a service that was creating a word cloud of my blog, which I liked. Unfortunately, it was creating an unintended consequence. It seemed to create what appeared to be hyperlinks on words that weren’t actually hyperlinks. I thought it was just my computer, but when a good friend of mine saw the same thing, I deleted the Jigli and the problem went away.
I was on a listserv when someone provided info about a conference in Italy. One reader took great exception to this and said, “I saw the announcement for a conference that cost $15 to attend within driving range for most of New York State.
One does not need to spend hours on an international flight plus all of the money for staying in a hotel in order to present at a conference or to attend a conference.” Others responded with comments such as “funding issues notwithstanding, some people may be interested in knowing this is happening. Why the need for the nasty responses?” ou’d be surprised how heated librarians can get.
Finally, I wrote: “To quote Sylvester Stewart: ‘Different strokes for different folks And so on, and so on and scooby-dooby-doo.'” That generated a “Roger: Best. Post. Ever.” and another positive comments. That made me feel really good!
I’ve got nothing pithy to say about the passing of Studs Terkel. I’ve read only one of his books – Working – though I did enjoy seeing him express his views in various venues. But here’s a nice piece:
Studs Terkel: The Power of His Prose By Dennis Kucinich, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel knew the real America. The America of grit and gumption, heart and soul, passion and nerve. He chronicled five generations of American history with a compassionate and deep understanding of the American character.

He was the quintessential American writer. He was our Boswell, our Whitman, our Sandburg. He was able to get people to open up and share their innermost thoughts and their deepest dreams. In the words of Kipling ‘he walked with kings and never lost the common touch.’

Infused in each word he wrote and in his spoken word, he was a master story-teller and could regale groups for literally hours with his deep understanding of human nature its possibilities and its foibles. He was a person of great appetites and his greatest appetite was for the truth. America has lost a tribune of the people. But the power of his prose lives on.

Studs was a dear friend. My wife, Elizabeth, and I have enjoyed many visits in Studs’s home. His good humor was a constant even during a visit a couple of years ago when he was recovering from heart surgery.

I was touched by the forward he wrote to my book, A Prayer for America. I’ll never forget the encouragement he gave me to run for president in 2004.


Blogging about blogging can be habit-forming

We’ve gotta stop meeting like this.

As a result of a difficulty I had with one of my other blogs on Blogger – this weird bX error that others suffered through too – I copied this blog (and that one) in its entirety to WordPress this past month. I’m not that familiar with WordPress, though my Times Union blog appears on it, so I will play with that at some point. But this Blogger blog will still be my primary blogging outlet until further notice, if only because whatever minimal promotion I’ve done has been to the Blogspot address. Also, I haven’t followed up to post the subsequent items on WordPress, so that is a factor.

I added a couple of bloggers to my sidebar. One is Gary who describes himself as the “old dude”. He’s only 16 years older than I am, so I wouldn’t call him old at all; gotta be at least 25 years older than I am to be old. He’s, er, more politically conservative than I am, but he can tolerate me, then I can tolerate him. In fact, it was Gary’s sidebar that inspired me to START to tweak mine, so that at least I can see when at least some of the bloggers listed they last posted. (Yeah, Yeah, I can do the RSS feed thing; I just haven’t.)

I also added Demeur from Gary’s sidebar, just for some political balance. (Did I mention that Gary’s rather conservative?) Also, WayneJohn seems more comprehensible than the so-called “blogger help”.

Another is yet another damn blog from Alan David Doane, who currently kvetches a lot about his dental work. See, I do all my kvetching right here. And speaking of ADD, I liked this link he found about what makes a good blog.

My near-twin Gordon had a post about all the cool things he’s doing on his blog. I must admit I didn’t understand about 70 percent of it.

One of my blog posts was linked to the Comic Reporter this past month with this single sentence: “One retailer recalls the 1987 Comic-Con.” No mention of my name; no mention, even, of FantaCo. Talk about being damned with faint praise.

I came across a blogpost that read as follows: “A friend of mine, Roger Green, often reminds me that the enemy of excellence is not the pitiful or horrible, but rather just the good.” No, it was not me. I found the post and replied: “It seems also true the perfect can drive out the good; if I can’t be perfect in my relationship with God, I might as well give up.”

Another blog post about face transplants cites “Roger Green, president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, said: “This particular surgery is a way of giving back a life to a patient who has been horribly scarred by burns, trauma or a tumour.”
In other news, my HP printer died, quite a few months ago, actually, and I was forced to go out and buy a new one. It’s a Brother, which not only prints but copies, scans, and if I had a phone line for it, faxes. It only cost $70, but after you add in the USB port cable and various ink cartridges, it was closer to $200. Still, once I’ve mastered the scanning technique – assuming I master the scanning technique – you’ll be able to see some of the results on this blog.



I’m curious how you folks who look at other blogs actually find them. Initially, I went through the links of the handful of bloggers I knew then, but I soon found a certain redundancy of common sites.

So, my favorite thing to do became using the Next Blog feature on the Blogger sites. However, I’ve been trying it recently and finding it increasingly unsatisfactory. I keep finding, every fourth or fifth hit, a sex site. And not just a sex site, but one site nearly identical in spite of mild permutations. It’s always a white background with a title of the video, which may be fairly innocuous – “David Beckham’s first MLS goal”. But on the right is a list of:
Related Top Posts that include – and I’ve eliminated more than a few:
# Sexy Chopper Biker Girls Naked(708)
# hot girls part 3 – the russian(445)

Of course, the non-sex sites I find are uneven. Either, I can’t understand the language or it contains information such as: “Well let me just say this, Zac Efron totally hotty! Danngg!” What’s a Zac Efron? (OK, I DO know about High School Musical.)

I do find some interesting places, but, where it used to take me about 10 minutes to find three commentable sites via Next Blog, now it takes a half hour, because among other things, the porn sites have disabled the Next Post button, so I have to go back before going forward. (They’ve also taken out the Flag Blog feature, not surprisingly – is there a way to report them to Blogger some other way?)

So, as I asked initially, what do YOU do to seek out new sites?
And speaking of Disney and sex, Mark Evanier, writing about the demise of a Disney digest, writes: Once upon a time, Playboy sold seven million copies per issue and now it sells three million. This is not because of a declining male interest in beautiful nude women or because the women aren’t as beautiful or as nude as they used to be. The phraseology, for whatever reason, cracked me up.
Geico Uncovers Secrets About Flintstones, Clampetts – the commercials will almost certainly be better than the upcoming Caveman series.
Starting this Monday: Changes in the comic strip For Better or Worse.
Two guys named Ken:
Levine – and his readers – on movie theater etiquette (or the lack of same)
Jennings (August 30) on separated at birth
I had asked who won the Democratic debate in Iowa on ABC-TV’s This week a couple weeks ago. I got five voters, four of whom picked Dennis Kucinich, and one who selected Barack Obama.
Karl Rove and now Alberto Gonzalez are both gone, and I’m not feeling the happiness I thought I would. It’s like the letdown I got when I would rehearse for a choir piece or a play; the event would go off well, but I’d be left with a mild melancholy. At least now I know why they left when they did.


Gorillas in the Midst

First, I want to note that Lydia had her surgery yesterday. It went fine, technically. Obviously, more on this soon. Thank you very much for your support. It does cut into blogging time, though, so I’ll be brief.

An important holiday. But then you knew that, didn’t you?
You may have noticed some slight changes in this blog. That’s because I’ve finally switched to the new Blogger, powered by that gorilla of search, Google. It allows for an easier way to indicate labels. It also allows me to edit every post I’ve ever done (some 800), rather than the last 300. I probably won’t spend a lot of time on retrospective stuff, but each day I post, I may add tags on an old post or two, so that in a couple years, I’ll have tagged the whole thing. Or not.
I knew that the way I did the transition would throw out the categories of bloggers I visit, because I had done the same transition on the Friends of the Albany Public Library site. (BTW, if you’re in Albany, vote Yes on the school and library issues, Tuesday, February 6, from noon until 9 pm.)
However, since the links needed to be revisited anyway – add some, delete some – I’m OK with the chaos, for the short term. Think of the blog as having one of those annoying Man at Work signs on it. Some guy in overalls from Buffalo is musing about his move to the new Blogger.
Philip Glass, the big magilla of minimalist music, turns 70 today. I had a girlfriend who HATED his music, and when we broke up, I went on a Philip Glass marathon – not recommended. My favorite Glass recording is this one.
Former guerrila (!) leader Fidel Castro’s dying and Miami’s throwing a party. Seems unseemly, somehow.
Governor Spitzer, the big gorilla politically around here, releases the budget today. Let’s see if he keeps those high approval ratings.
Sheldon Silver, the powerful Speaker of the state Assembly, has been like a petulant child, because none of the three finalists to become Comptroller (replacing Alan Hevesi, who resigned because of the “Driving Mrs. Hevesi” scandal) is an Assembly member. A committee interviewed 18 candidates, including five Assembly members. Frankly, picking a legislator would have been business as usual, and “business as usual” in Albany has been dysfunctional as long as I can remember. Let it go, Shelly.
Get that tobacco monkey off your back. NYS specific, but with some useful data for all.
Baseball player Tony Suck, who played as though he were wearing a gorilla suit, based on the stats from his brief career.
Finally, Dennis the Menace – “Gorilla Warfare”

Blogspot, we have a problem

I was working on my blog at home a few nights ago when I tried to get to my Blogger Dashboard. (That is the place from which one can post documents and change settings on the site.) Somehow, I got to somebody else’s Dashboard! And not only once, but two or three times, to the same Dashboard that was NOT mine! This was upsetting for a couple reasons: I didn’t want to mess up his site, and if I could get to his, theoretically, someone could get to mine.

This particular person had about a dozen different commercial sites. I COULD have written material on the sites, added links, or even deleted all of his work. One of his sites was not yet published, so I did write a note in a post – but did not publish it – letting him know that I inadvertently (and inexplicably) breached his security. He WILL see it next time he goes there. I let him know I was not a hacker; I don’t know HOW to be a hacker. I suggested that he makes sure that he has backed up everything he posts.

And then, I went and did the same.

While I was at it, I made a few other changes. I re-spell-checked everything from May (and also yesterday and today) and found some egregious errors that I have fixed – sorry about that. I decided that I wanted 10 days of posts to be immediately visible, rather than 7. Also, since I had trouble reading my blog at home (though not at work), I put the last 10 days of posts in BOLD and will do likewise for future posts; the retrospective stuff will come eventually.

All of this is being to enhance YOUR reading pleasure and to maintain MY sanity.