On Retrospect: The Golden Years

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For me, The Golden Age is a time that I saw blogging at its peak. Statistically, I don’t know if that is true, but it was to me. Fortunately, it was probably in full swing when I started.

Freshly Pressed was a popular promotion and recognition by WordPress Editors. Besides checking the list daily, I visited and commented on many blogs attempting to gain regular readers. After having some posts that I believed should have been recognized, I made and displayed a “Not Freshly Pressed” badge. On 23 Dec 2012, the editors notified me of my selection while mentioning I can take down my badge. 51 weeks later on 16 December 2013, my second Freshly Pressed honor came. After all, how could the WP editors not appreciate this post about words.

Whatever success means in blogland, I think I was tasting it. My community grew. I was associated with more than a few (apparently) well-known bloggers – and oh wow – what a variety of blogs!

During this time, my topics/categories continued to expand. My little corner of the world evolved into a weekly magazine with 6 posts following a similar pattern:

  • Monday Morning Entertainment (256 posts) highlighted the weekend and started the week with a smile
  • Tuesday provided a feature post of content
  • Aiming at a mid-week chuckle for Wednesday, The Onion’s Satire Bits (134 posts) provided a list of the week’s best headlines from The Onion – and this is where the Combo Challenge started
  • Thursday was a day for a variety of topics – a second feature, a travel post, or anything else.
  • Opinions in the Shorts (— posts) quickly evolved into a consistent format.
  • Saturday featured something light-hearted for the weekend. I loved Saturday Morning Cartoons (71 posts). After all, many readers loved watching cartoons on Saturday mornings during their youth. Explore series (74 posts) followed the cartoons on weekends. Eventually the Blog Musicals (8 musicals of 81 acts) moved from weekdays to Saturdays.

After several years of posting six days a week, replying to all comments, visiting other blogs, plus researching and writing, I was wearing down. With a long-term work contract consuming my day, I backed down from my self-imposed expectations – which lead to an important mantra – Blogging breaks are good.

Three-to-five posts per week became the new routine, which was fine with me. Eventually it became three-to-four. During this time I realized that six posts per week were not only demanding on me, it was also demanding on my readers. In retrospect, that’s a major revelation because my readers read other blogs as well as maintaining their own. That thought alone helped me slow down.

Were these really the Golden Age of Blogging? I don’t know – but to me, this period was exciting. The Golden Age faded away as some bloggers moved on to other forms of social media. Maybe the time wasn’t the Golden Age – but just a time when I was surrounded by activity and creativity. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful time in my blogging history.

Next topic: The Posts (To be published Saturday 1 Feb @ 1:00 AM Eastern US)

On Retrospect: The Beginning

That’s my first header. Why? Well, that came with the theme and I didn’t know I could change it – let alone how!

I can’t remember the answer to this question: Did I start blogging on Blogger or The Sporting News (TSN)? Blogger was my multi-year journey about three friends who rated hamburgers throughout the city. The Cincinnati Burger Guys (past post here) had success in and out of blogging, but various aspects of life caused the team to fade away.

I played various fantasy sports games at The Sporting News (TSN) for multiple years. The games were free and fun. In order to build a community, TSN provided a blogging opportunity for its members. Most of those I list/link as Pioneers in the sidebar are from my TSN days. Unfortunately, TSN stopped their fantasy games and blog hosting – so participants dispersed.

In 2008, Tim (a frequent commenter here) and I would meet for breakfast or lunch. Most of the conversations focused on investments, sports, and politics. Keep in mind, 2008 was an election year in the US (Obama-McCain). I was itching to write again, plus Tim always appreciated by thoughts – even occasionally agreeing. Research took me to WordPress – and in a few months I forged ahead. A Frank Angle was formed – a way of using my name and promoting what I wanted to do – an honest opinion.

The burger blog was for a local audience, and the TSN blog was for a limited community. Beyond posting and hoping for readers, I didn’t know what to expect on WordPress. It didn’t take long to learn that the blogging experience is much more than I anticipated.

My first post was short as I introduced myself and a small bit of blogging philosophy. Although I didn’t mention it, but sports and politics was my primary focus. Not knowing much about building a blogging community, I got followers, visitors, and commenters the old fashion way – hard work. I replied to every comment, visited all visitors (even commenting on their site), and visiting links on other blogrolls.

Reconnecting with some TSN people helped in the early days. Cheers to Tim (Beeze), Mo, Chris, Lester the Legend, and Dave. Even to this day, they surprise me with a pop-in visit. Special thanks to Dave who told me that if someone takes the time to comment, they deserve a thought reply from me. Give them more than a mere thanks for visiting or commenting. That is not only true, but priceless advice.

Slowly (but surely) my blogging community developed. By Dec 2008, I was still interested in sports and politics, but I wanted to post more often to keep my readers engaged and keep building. Branching into other topics widened my readership. Looking at the wide range of topics listed in the Categories, that was a great decision for me.

PS: This is a milestone post: #2300.

Next: The Golden Age

On the Farewell Gift Party

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This post wasn’t in my initial retrospective series. Actually, it is a relatively spontaneous decision. Usually linked to holidays, I’ve hosted more than a few blog parties. So – hey – we need to have a farewell party – a celebration. A gathering place for the good of the cause!

This is going to be a bit crazy for both readers and the host, so I request your patience!

Overview

  1. Behind each number is a surprise gift. (For the record, a gag gift which you will not receive from me)
  2. Only one gift per person
  3. Once the number (gift) is taken, it’s no longer available (next note is important)
  4. While I hope to strike-through taken numbers, I must sleep and run errands – so I request readers check the comments before taking a number. (See the Last Updated note above the numbers for my strike-through progress.)

Directions

  1. Pick (click) an available number for your surprise gift
  2. In your comment, type your number (hopefully on its own line so all can see it)
  3. Tell everyone about your gift
  4. If necessary, bargain a trade with someone else
  5. An option: Offer your unselected pick for a known gift … then the other person gets another pick
  6. Because others want to know what you got, please tell about your gift in the comments. After all, parties involve good conversations.

Giftbag and Availability Scorecard (Last updated at __)

1                    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20    21    22    23    24    25   26    27    28    29    30    31

On a Farewell Music Fest

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Music has been an important part of my little corner of the world for a long time – unquestionably, the majority of the 11+ years. From holiday parties to blog musicals to weekend concerts, to sending readers into the weekend with a song, embedding music in many other posts, and even sharing handbell music  – music has been a common bond between you and I. Because of the role music has played here, music is the right choice to serve as the kickoff to my closing celebration.

The Producer’s Guidelines

  • Leave me a song (supply SONG TITLE (all caps) and the artist)
  • As you mingle with others, leave them a song (SONG TITLE in all caps)
  • No duplicate songs
  • Have fun by listening to other songs

LOVELY TO SEE YOU AGAIN (Moody Blues)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 425

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Welcome to the last edition of OITS. To celebrate the occasion, there is a little more this time.

Although I’ve been proclaiming the end is coming for months, the fact that it is actually approaching is a weird sensation. I spent so much time cleaning out the blog closet, I thought the closet was more like a bottomless pit.

With 425 posts, Opinions in the Shorts is (by far) my longest running series. It’s been fun to do.

With this series having different sections, it has been interesting to notice reader preferences. But I get the biggest thrill when someone reads one of the Interesting Reads and then comments about it. 😀

Over the years, I’ve tried to showcase Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Here’s an article about 10 lesser known historical sites in the area. Some may surprise you.

This is from five year ago, but just saw it for the first time.

 

Remember Fiona, the premature hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo. This post is perfect timing with her birthday. Happy 3rd Birthday, Fiona – which is this Friday, 24 January. Here’s the latest local article about her celebrating her birthday.

We saw Ford v Ferrari. Very good movie. A tad long, but tense from early on to the end. FYI: Being a racing is NOT a requirement to enjoy the film.  Click here to see the trailer.

As per the previous published agenda, the two posts (parties) this weekend are designed to be fun – so I hope you participate!

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Instead of leaders promoting the feat they associate with the other side, America needs leaders who are fearless in attacking today’s problems – not to return to a time that has passed – and not to get us stuck in today – but fearless to address today’s issues with an eye on a positive tomorrow.

My thoughts on my Elite 8 states to watch in the 2020 election: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Which also means I’m hoping Ohioans will see fewer ads than in the last 2 presidential elections.

I have long believed that Washington has two main problems: Democrats and Republicans. Both are selfish organizations favoring self-serving over governing. Because of their preference of shoving ideals down our throats, I hope that the 2020 election results deliver divided government. We need more, but given the environment, unfortunately divided government is the best answer. Today’s environment lacks the attitude of intentionally gathering to collectively pursue a goal – and then achieve it. But maybe that attitude is only an ideal because politics has always been a selfish nasty fight of us versus them.

For the record, the Senate phase of impeachment is unfortunately a joke and an embarrassment. Then again, they are following the precedent of past impeachments … and the Republican stance is weak, sad, and aimed at the blind faith of partisan hacks. Also, given the precedents, if the Founding Fathers would have seen impeachment playout, I wonder if they would switched the jury responsibility from the Senate to the US Supreme Court.

President Trump is a pathetic person, an even worse leader, and one who brings most of his problems on himself. He’ll take credit for anything and avoid taking responsibility. America deserves better. Unfortunately, a high percentage of Americans don’t believe that, and that’s a problem that is bigger than him.

Given’s President Trump’s normal behavior and high chances of election, odds are very high that he will become the first president to be impeached more than once.

I’m tired of partisan-hack Republicans who continually claim that anti-Trump people don’t feel he was dutifully elected. Hey Jackwagons, I hate to tell you, but most anti-Trumpians would disagree with your statement. You sound like the anti-evolutionists who say, “Evolution says humans came from apes.” Interestingly, I’ve never heard an evolutionist say that.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Couple decides there are better off as siblings
Financial expert recommends waiting until chaos is law of the land
New cable bundle includes 24/7 live-in tech support
New sip-and-weld studio provides opportunity to drink wine and create own masterpiece with blowtorch
Amazon reviewer posts selfie with toaster
Man afraid he’ll seem vulnerable if he reaches out to fire department for help
30-minute silence in car broken with “We are making good time”
Report: Clicking this link will add you to FBI Watch List

My Combo: Man decides wine, toaster, and blowtorch make chaos better until expert recommends Amazon to silence siblings for help

Interesting Reads

James Bond music – the hits and the misses
A universe with no end?
The F-14 Tomcat
Rise and fall of the Hummer
Impacts of America’s slow-growing population
A discovery that may treat all cancer
Bismarck: The battleship
Where to eat in 2020
Land Use in America
(Photos) Volcanic eruption in the Philippines
(Photos) Contest winners of photo contest involving boulders
(Photos) Ocean Photo Contest winners
(Graphic) China’s global influence
(Graphic) The true size of countries

Selecting a song to send you into the weekend for the last time wasn’t an easy task, but once I heard a podcast that reminded me of this song, I knew it was it. Thanks for reading. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.