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)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 205

On Politics
Healthcare.gov, health care rates, cost and availability of health insurance, are related issues – but not the same.

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, I saw it as a start, not an end. Republicans tend to under-regulate while Democrats tend to over-regulate. Given the at best, shaky rollout of healthcare.gov and initial implementation of the law, I hoped each party would step forward to make the law better. Because would stretch each party outside of their comfort zone, fat chance of that occurring.

Insurance companies decreasing their list of physicians is not only problematic and pathetic!

First I wondered why a first-term senator would attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Then I wondered why said senator would ceremoniously protest Raul Castro by walking out of a ceremony honoring a man of reconciliation. Yes, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), that’s you – and staging an action to bring attention to yourself is very unlike Mr. Mandela. I yield my final comment to this great American orator.

A good read about Senator Cruz from the editor of Real Clear Politics.

I enjoyed columnist Dana Milbank’s take on political selfies.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Obnoxious friend won’t stop attaining major life milestones
Eighth grader caked in makeup probably really confident
Poll shows the majority of Americans would watching something called Love Trap
Modern-day Caligula orders Everything Bagel
New attractive person comes to nation’s attention
Encouraging economic report reveals more Americans delusional enough to start their own business

Interesting Reads
The Greatest of Gifts by Sue @ Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
50 Breakthroughs since the wheel
An ancient Israeli wine cellar found
Three Italian Mountain Towns
Book review about Johann Sebastian Bach
A saga about Coca-Cola’s polar bears

On Potpourri
I have a holiday party for the weekend, which will start very early in my day. After all, I must open the doors early for those in time zones ahead of mine. Your friends are welcome as well … beware … there will be items with names on them.

Plus, don’t forget my annual Christmas Eve posts of video gifts.

For those needing these pertinent holiday tips, The Onion offers these suggestions for decorating a Christmas tree.

Once again, I enjoyed Act 11’s music. Bad News – Time: The Musical will conclude after the first of the year. Good news – A new musical will take its place

Getting Freshly Pressed still brings a smile, but it is work. After all, staying to true form, I respond to all comments and reciprocate many visitors.  Reality is that FP brings a spike in followers and daily hits (temporarily), but maybe a couple of bloggers who may turn into regulars. Juggling FP with holidays, Time: The Musical, these OITS, and preparing for a holiday fest is more than a chore! For those that didn’t know, here’s the post.

Being on the same FP page as Kathy McCullough was an added treat!

Apologies to Bulldog for my careless mistake in Act 11.

I added a new subpage under More Bloggers called Possibilities, which has some new bloggers.

Here are your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Human Solidarity Day, Mudd Day, Sangria Day, Underdog Day
  • (Sat) Solstice, Crossword Puzzles Day, Humbug Day, Don’t Be a Scrooge Day, Ann & Samantha Day, Hamburger Day, Kiwi Fruit Day, Yalda, Yule, Flashlight Day, Phileas Fogg Win-a-Wager Day
  • (Sun) Haiku Poetry Day, Date Nut Bread Day

Let’s celebrate going into a weekend with a song from 1968 that reached Billboard’s Top 10. The video has wonderful images to go along with Everything that Touches You by The Association. Who remembers them?

Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Satire Bits: Vol. 79

How’s your week going so far? Between funeral expenses, a plumber, and car repairs, I’ve been on a spending free of the unwanted kind. Good news is that I got three good hours of volunteering in this week.

Time: The Musical raises its curtain again on Wednesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). This act features Future Time, so song titles must include Future or reference the future, which allows room for creativity. However Tonight will is not acceptable.

My mind has been a little haywire recently, but the final act will be in January, followed by a prologue – therefore a new musical could debut in February!

On personal blogging note, about 4 hours ago (at 5:25 pm, Eastern US Tuesday), WordPress notified me that the last post (On Palaver) will be the Editor’s Pick for Freshly Pressed – but I don’t know when.

Let’s get on to your midweek dose of satire from The Onion. For those wanting an extra challenge, use the words in the headlines below to create your own headline. My combo is listed at the end. Otherwise, which is your favorite?

Have a good rest of the week.

25-ft-tall Asian women remain underrepresented in the media

Nation’s single men announce plan to change bedsheets by 2019

Girl with pink hair browsing iguanas

Personal trainer has desk

New skin cream to do something

CEO has special knack for recognizing great ideas and ruining them

Town nervously welcomes veteran back home

Friendly wildfire comes right up to Yosemite camper’s tent

Sleeping middle-aged businessman in airport suddenly so child-like, so vulnerable

Family’s horrific 45-minute screaming match ends in consensus to go to Macaroni Grill

Study: Average person becomes unhinged psychotic when alone in own house

Marketing department under impression Keebler elves are beloved part of American culture

My Combo: Underrepresented psychotic elves become unhinged personal trainers with pink skin

On Closing 2012 with Shorts

With 2012 about to close, I could recap the year – but won’t – however, I’ll let The Onion provide satire’s version of recapping the year.

Other 2012 Recaps from The Onion

Here’s some of the entertainment we watched this holiday:

  • Lincoln helps show that politicians have always been selfish
  • Argo is interesting and about something I didn’t even know happened
  • Black Knight Rises (finally rented) is convoluted
  • The Kennedy Center Honors (TV), a must-see every year, was (as always) great
  • Missed seeing Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Guilt Trip, and Anna Karenina (Did you see any of these?)

Congratulations for being the 20,000th comment to Debra, an Aussie who spends time in a beautiful area of Tuscany that is very near to relatives from both sides of my family. If you visit, tell her I sent you.

Cheers to my top 5 commenters (in reverse order): Elyse (#5), El Guapo, Rich, John Erickson, and Starla (#1).

Here’s a list of those who left this world in 2012

Being Freshly Pressed on Christmas Eve has worn me out, thus kept me away from making my rounds. Given the holidays and weekends, I’ve remained on the FP’s front page for a week, which is longer than normal. Then again, I bring the swamped feeling upon myself by having a mantra to reply, reciprocate, and visit any and all – thus I’m ready to move on.

Soon, 2012 will be in the shadow of 2013. I draw the curtain to 2012 with this fitting video by Lindsey Stirling. For those going out to celebrate – enjoy yourself and be safe. To those staying in, enjoy the calm. To all, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Happy New Year! …. and cheers to a healthy and positive 2013!

On 12 Flurries of Christmas

Welcome back! To my Christmas-celebrating friends, I hope you had a DSC01561wonderful holiday. To those not celebrating, hope the day delivered joy and peace to you.

Because I encountered some unexpected flurries, these pics from an outdoor holiday lights display we visit several weeks ago will accompany the story.

Flurry #1: We decided on a cross-state drive to visit my sister for the weekend. The visit went well, but Saturday was John Erickson’s birthday, thus I was disappointed to miss the festivities.

Flurry #2: Upon returning home, I replied to the comments on John’s tribute post, and then raced through the other tributes. I enjoyed them, but a day late just wasn’t the same as being there.

Flurry #3: Besides catching up on the John tributes, Sunday was also the start of my holiday post. I published it at the planned time, which meant comments were on the way.

Flurry #4: I started Christmas Eve with replying to comments. Throughout the day, in between errands, cleaning, and cooking dinner, I tried to make holiday wishes to the blogs I frequent.

Flurry #5: I receive an honor from highly acclaimed H.E.Ellis because this Naughty Santa video from my Gifts 2012 post inspired this post by her.

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Flurry #6: We just finished dinner, and I returned to blogs to answer comments on the gifts post. Through my emails, I see a Like for someone I don’t know … followed by a subscribe notice … following by a comment from Society Red in Seattle, and one I ordered not long ago to shred his citizenship papers: NOW what are you going to do? Freshly Pressed!

Flurry #7: Society Red’s comment created an oh-crap moment, so I scanned the Inbox – and there it was – the notification – and it was already live! … She (the editor) picked DSC01559her favorite video (Hubble to Oh Holy Night), and included this closing statement: Sorry to have to make you remove your “never been Freshly Pressed” badge. Consider it our gift to you.

Flurry #8: I was totally surprised that post #1,082 made it, so I hastily notified a few. After all, time was short and I knew had to abdicate the throne of the country I formed. I summoned a chopper for making my escape into the dark skies to avoid the potential hysteria.

Flurry #9: From the chopper, I contacted John Erickson, who spread the news. Yet, on this Christmas Eve night, the night known for celebrating joy and peace, I looked at the sparkling lights from the people below with pride and sadness … and as the last light faded away, the a tear hits the floor.

Flurry #10: Now in a new location I realized I had get to church for the handbell choir’s final rehearsal. After participating in two services, I returned home to more messages.

Flurry #11: Christmas Day – Dealing with 800+ visitors on this day, plus comments, and maintaining a personal philosophy of interacting with visitors DSC01560was a challenge. My in-laws visited in the afternoon and we had enjoyed dinner. In the evening, I finally slayed the last comment … and then I saw this tribute from rarasaur.

Flurry #12: Besides managing comments, the day after Christmas delivered a winter storm dividing Cincinnati in two – snow and wind for blizzard conditions on the west side to rain-sheet-ice-snow mix for those of us on the east side. Fortunately, I was on the good side of the storm.

I safely landed on the other side of NonFP Nation., and warmly greeted by my friends here … and those in my former homeland cheered as well. Suddenly and unexpectedly receiving the never-envisioned was interesting – but it sure made Christmas 2012 was a bit different. I weathered the storm of 2,100+ visits over 3 days – but I also look forward to returning back to my normal routine. Thanks everyone!

PS: To add the pleasure, the FP post about Santa (the one beside mine in the FP image below)  I listed in last Friday’s Interesting Reads section of Opinions in the Shorts. Yep, I noted it before WordPress.

FreshlyPressed