Sunday, March 01, 2015

Blogger SPAM

I always reserve the right to make fun of anyone who SPAMs me -- including my own blog host:

Starting March 23, 2015, you won't be able to publicly share images and videos that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger.

Because I'm, what, Sexy Back Writer now?

Note: We’ll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit. For example, in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.

You know, that's what every twerp says when his mother finds his sticky little Playboy stash: "Geez, Mom, they were substantially beneficial to me."

Changes you’ll see to your existing blogs: If your existing blog doesn’t have any sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video on it, you won’t notice any changes.

Kinda doubt there is anything I've done that qualifies. Well, this cover. And this one before I convinced them to put a shirt on him. Or are you doing the gender double standard thing and not counting naked male chests?

If your existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, your blog will be made private after March 23, 2015. No content will be deleted, but private content can only be seen by the owner or admins of the blog and the people who the owner has shared the blog with.

Okay, so if PBW suddenly vanishes this time it will be entirely due to your uptight, unwarranted and unwelcome censorship. Gotcha.

Settings you can update for existing blogs, blah blah blah

Oh, bite me. Wait, only if it offers a substantial public benefit!

Saturday, February 28, 2015


"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory."

--Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Image credit: Kalina Vova

Friday, February 27, 2015

Come Sail Away

Smith Journal describes Ray Gascoigne as a man who "has been around boats his whole life, as a shipwright, a merchant sailor, and now as a ship builder on the smallest dry dock there is: a bottle." His art is simply stunning (and this film is narrated by the artist with some background ambience, for those of you at work):

Bottled History from Smith Journal on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just Write

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

My link: More on Club Denizen, with new material beginning on page 31.

For more details on Just Write Thursdays, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: windujedi

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Listen; there's a hell of a good universe next door: let's go. -- e.e. cummings

I doubt any writer has saved me more times than a former ambulance driver who considered words his paint and verse his canvas (when he wasn't actually painting a real one.) He was a soldier who hated war, and suffered from depression but despised fear; he was that kind of contrary -- and mysterious and gifted and more lyrical than any man I've encountered on this planet.

He wasn't perfect by any means. He looked a bit like a seedy ranch hand, and made some stupendously massive mistakes with his choices in love and politics. He could be pompous and unyielding, and probably rode his artistic high horse too often as well. He was brought up to be an aristocrat but lived like a bohemian and adored rascals and heretics. Even in death he had to be different; when he suffered a massive, instantly fatal cerebral hemmorhage, he was on his way to sharpen an ax.

great men burn bridges before they come to them -- e.e. cummings

So how can you be protected by a guy who died when you were in diapers? Edward Estlin Cummings left behind for me a bridge through time and space and life and death, built from the thousands of poems he wrote. And not just any poems. The man sculpted language and ignored rules and nose-thumbed spelling and grammar. He took the much-loved sonnet form and played Twister with it. He spoke from the page with ease and wonder and stunning candor. The first time I read this he had me for life.

Edward may have moved on to the next place, but he has never abandoned me. Just the other day, when I was again subjected to some unnecessary and hateful behavior, he was there for me in his work. I opened a book and retreated from this world into his, and on the other side of that bridge he reminded me once more of the many things he's taught me. When you embrace beauty like this, you make it impossible for anyone to infect you with their ugliness. And when I crossed back over the bridge into my reality, it was like the cruelty never happened.

To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting. -- e.e. cummings

And this is why we should create instead of destroy, heal instead of harm, and love instead of hate. To build our own bridges for those who need us now, and those who will need us after we're gone. To be there as a sanctuary and a source of reassurance for someone in need of protection, even after we've moved on. Honestly, this is the only immortality worth having.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thumb Rules

I'm not a fan of rules, but I do enjoy the folksy alternatives, such as rules of thumb. These are advice, estimates or predictions based on experience or opinion, such as "When the ink on a fountain pen flows more liberally than usual you are likely to have a storm" or "If it rains all summer here we'll have at least two freezes during winter" (one of mine). Rules of thumb range from utterly ridiculous (If you don't want a cat to jump into your lap, don't make eye contact with it) to totally accurate (Cook fish ten minutes per inch of thickness.)

You can imagine how entertained I was when I discovered there's a searchable web site devoted to rules of thumb on just about every subject you can imagine. You simply enter any topical word into the search box, and the site will offer you all the thumby wisdom it has on the subject.

Here are a few zingers about writing:

"If you feel that you need a thesaurus to write something, you are probably trying too hard."

--John Shed, language instructor

"Always figure out who your characters are before you figure out your plot. You can follow a good character through a bad plot, but you can't make a good plot out of a bad character."

--James Erwin, Editor, Des Moines, IA, USA

"If the erasers of your pencils wear out before the graphite, you're too fussy."

--Stephen Unsino, poet, Eastchester, New York

(Thanks to Gerard over at the Presurfer, who led me to the Rules of Thumb site via this helpful post.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ban Me Baby

Which banned book are you? Take this online quiz from Columbus State Library to find out.

My results:

So I'm a Utopian parody written by a smartass pacifist. Sounds about right.

Why should we ban you? Let us know in comments.