On My New Blog

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In early February 2020, I published my last post on this blog. However, I hinted that a new blog could be in my future, and if that was to be, I would have one more post here as an announcement. Well, the time has come, and I hope you visit. Better yet, also tell you friends about Beach Walk Reflections.

Beach Walk Reflections is officially open.

 

On the Finale: The Puzzle’s Last Piece

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Thought I’d have an opening song. For me, the tone of the first word fits this post.

 

In life, I’m not a “Look at me – see what I did” type of person. There are times I even prefer walking away or without fanfare. Of even do something without recognition. A friend told me that one of the reasons they like dancing with me is because I don’t bring attention to myself or the couple. I just dance. That’s a private side of me, but I must admit – I appreciate positive praise and recognition when it’s timely – more during because (to me and at times) after-the-fact seems shallow – contrived.

It is interesting how I’ve ended this place that has been part of me for over a decade. I knew I couldn’t just walk away from my regulars – leaving them wondering “Whatever happened to Frank?” I just couldn’t. On the other hand, just maybe – this formal closing series is something I needed for myself along while respecting my readers.

When I started my little corner of the world on 28 August 2008, I had no idea what I would do and for how long. Beyond writing a post and having people read and comment, I had no clue about what was to come. The respect, friendships, encouragement, and more have blown me away.

Some say a blog’s average life span is 3 years – and to think I’ve gone strong for 11+ years. Guess that means I did OK. Well, at least in these terms.

Many stats are worthless, but I’ve enjoyed watching them: 2,304 posts, 13,531 categories/topics, 442,397 visits, 96,911 comments, 8,017 followers. They cause me to smile – but I’m most proud of my longevity, versatility and the way I’ve handled myself here. Stats will also make me laugh in the future when I receive notifications of a new follower in the days to come. You know that’s going to happen. Maybe I’ll see the day when the counter rolls over to 500,000.

My first post was short – a mere 11 sentences with 166 words. The excerpt below is from that first post.

To readers I promise insight, yet will respect comments from others. I will be respectful to all as bashing is not my style, thus hope others are the same. Disagreement and criticism are fine, but it should be done with class. Other times I will simply provide information for readers to use.” (28 Aug 2008)

With much unknown ahead of me at that time, little did I know how those words would resonate in this final post over 11 years later.. Yes – I accomplished it!

I plan on leaving this blog up and hope to continue visiting and commenting on blogs. Maybe not as regular, but yes – you are important to me! You are part of me. We are friends who have never met. But, I hope to stay away for the rest of the month of February – or at least only be limited because I have some things I must do. Maybe I will start snooping around sometime in March.

My future plans? As long as I’m able, I want to keep doing what I’m doing: ballroom dance, walking, travel, golf, working at the golf course, and whatever else. I’ve started playing a bit of pickleball. In terms of blogging, wisdom tells me to beware of saying “never” because one never knows what lies ahead. I don’t plan to post here again – but I’ll let the future determine what I do on WordPress. Maybe I would use the mailing list here as a future announcement post.

Personally, I would love to turn the beach walking series into a podcast. That’s easier said than done, I’ve done the research – I know that endeavor requires a lot of work, especially for what I visioned – so, I doubt if that happens because I don’t want to dedicate that much time to the task.

I can say that I secured beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com just in case I proceed. If I move forward with the idea, I can’t imagine not letting many of you know. If I don’t do the podcasts, maybe I’ll return to blogging by solely focusing on beach walks. Maybe I’ll use this platform for an announcement to get the word out. Time will also answer that question. Therefore, I ask you to keep me notification active. 

I enjoy research. I enjoy writing. I enjoy interacting with visitors. To me, those are very important factors of blogging. I try to practice what I believe. If someone takes the time to comment, I feel obligated to be welcoming and reply with something meaningful. Then again, that’s time consuming – let alone reciprocating and visiting my favorite blogs. One of the reasons I’m stepping away is failing to meet my self-imposed values and standards.

I’ve tried to be true to myself here – that is, being who I am – well, at least who I think am. Each of us are different and complex in our own way – that defines humanity – and, I know I’m far from perfect.

In person, I try to be personable, friendly, and kind (but some people make that difficult). I have a sense of humor (that some don’t understand). I’m definitely a thinker and a contrarian one at that – yet not confrontational. Yes, I’m a talker, but not a nonstop talker who continues talking when they inhale. Emotional endings to movies can cause a tear or two. I’ve shed more than a few tears here recently – and YES, my eyes are blue. I’m average size and build (5’10.5″) and 67th birthday is coming soon. Cheers to other Aquarians.

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The closing process has been a reflection opportunity. Throughout my life, and no matter the endeavor, I’ve wanted the following: acceptance, respect, and appreciation while being part of something. I think those build my self-esteem. My work career is where I discovered my contrarian nature. Overall, I didn’t feel valued – the feeling of swimming against the current or being alone on an island. But, I had the desire and confidence to push forward with my ideas and approach – and in many ways, mission accomplished.

My contrarian nature, desire, and confidence continued here, and my readers here have made me feel valued – yes; accepted, respected, and appreciated. I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me! Because of you, I’m a better person today than when I started this blog on 28 August 2008.

I also believe YOU are the ones that kept me going for so long! For me, some of the praise you have given me the past few weeks is a bit of a shock. Appreciative yes – but I’m still surprised. Simply put, I’m wired to think more what you have done for me as opposed for what I’ve done for you. After all, I’m just being myself. Maybe just a different view of selfishness.

I recently received an email about comments on the closing agenda post, and the person asked if I realized how much I had affected people. To be honest, I had not – so the message caused me to look at those comments in a different light. My impact on people here has never entered my mind. I’m not one who focuses on himself. In the comments of the final two posts I’ve included locations of commenters, which says two things to me – the world has touched me – and it seems I have touched the world. Now that’s an overwhelming thought. All I can say is, “Wow and thanks for allowing me into your life!”

It’s been a fabulous 11+ years – and I have no regrets. Blogging has been a gift, and you the treasure inside that gift. Thank you for being you and for visiting my little corner of the world. Thank you for accepting me and my quirks. Thank you for your role in making this a friendly place. Thank you for making me a better blogger. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for building my confidence in humanity. Hosting has been an honor and a pleasure that you have made easy.

Thanks to everyone for reinforcing my belief that the majority of people in the world are good, and for helping me take my little corner of the world beyond my wildest dreams. I love the people here! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Retrospect: The People

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“The majority of people in the world are good.”

I’ve written those words many times here. I not only believed that statement, blogging cemented that belief into my personal ideology. It’s a personal mantra that I use in conversations and posts. Some just stare at me, but most concur.

People from Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, India, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Whales, and more became important parts on my little corner of the world. Regardless of politics, religions, cultures, statements by world leaders, and more – YES – the majority of people in the world are good!

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
(“We Are The World”, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie)

I also believe the most important decision a person makes in life is their choice of people to be in their personal orbit. No matter if friends, neighbors, work colleagues, fellow parishioners, hobbists, or wherever – others can build you up while others tear you down. Some will support you in your time of need while others abandon you in a blink of the eye. Some are positive and encouraging, but others are negative influences in a variety of ways.

Bottom line is simple: In life, each of us decide who will be around us – and blogging is no different! However, this involves luck because in cyberworld, we don’t know who is behind the words we read. On the plus side, gaining personal relationships has been the biggest and most rewarding surprise for me. No wonder this post is longer than the others in this series.

Names stick with me – so I wonder whatever happened to some bloggers. They suddenly stop – vanishing into the cyber-abyss – which is one of the reasons I’m doing this series. I don’t want others to wonder. After all, my readers respect me and I respect them. Besides, I’ve been here so long!

As with any type of social media, blogging is about making connections. For instance, I know El Guapo served as my connection point to Raye and Marc (who was Cayman then). I discovered John through Marc while Dale found me through Raye. Monika found me through Marc, plus Dale found Marc (and others) through me – and so on. I also connect with Susannah through Marc, but not through his alter ego Cayman. Goodness has a way of finding goodness!

At the risk of forgetting someone, I want to mention many fellow bloggers (sometimes in alphabetical order). Some I’ve encountered for many years, others less than a year. Some bloggers have faded away, others have cut back, and some are still going strong.  I originally wanted to say something about each of them, but I’ll group them instead. Plus I want to keep it short, otherwise this post would be a book.

Carrie, Elyse, Guapo, and Virginia no longer blog. I miss them. They were regulars and I loved the way the handled themselves and treated me – plus they excelled at their end in their own style. Although chances are slim, I hope they see this and stop by.

Nia, Robin, and Debra are my longest-running visitors – and they still visit, comment, and shine at their end. Debra and I laugh about how much we seem to have in common. I collaborated with Robin 5 times, and Nia is genuinely nice.

A special salute to two Canadians. Resa is not only a treat and frequent visitor, she got me interested in murals. Her tribute post to me will live with me forever. Dale – well – She’s one of the best interactive people I’ve encountered. She’s genuine and a hoot – and what a fabulous maitre’d she’s been at my musical events. After me, she must be the one making the most comments here. 🙂 I can’t thank her enough! After all, we are a great team.

Although relatively new here, cheers to Monika for her sense of humor and her volunteering effort with her comfort dogs collectively known as The Knuckleheads.

Marina, we go back a long time. The more we interacted, the more our bond grew. I am eternally grateful for you being you to me. Yamas!

Raye, I love your wit. John, you are a writing machine. Marc, you may be the best writer I’ve encountered. Merril, you are kind, smart, insightful, and consistent.

Archon, Betsy, Bumba Steve, CAL/Mudge, Catherine, Charlie (SoCal), Cindy, Drew, E R, Eleanor, Holly, Jo (Texas), Jo (England), Karen (Mouse), Kerry, Mary, Melanie, Mobius, Otto, Padre Steve, Pamela, Patti, Phillip, Ray, Sue, Theodora, and Yahooey like to keep me on my toes by keeping an irregular schedule for posting and/or visiting … and that’s OK.

Special shout-out to Aussie Debra who posts about her time in Italy. Her tie to my family’s region always causes me to smile, plus she knows how much I love Bagni di Lucca and that valley.

AmyRose, Eilene, Rachel, Tara, Trent, and Wendy are relative newbies, so thanks for joining us when you can and for what you do at your end – yet our time together has been too short. Fiery and Nina were also new, but gone with a flash as neither is blogging now – one announced and the other vanishing into thin air. Susannah is also relatively new, but she has a great heart and wit; plus (I think) we click.

John Erickson, wherever you are – thank you for bringing your wit and energy to my little corner of the world. I’ve missed your presence.

Lynn doesn’t post or visit as much as she once did, but our time linked together has been long.

I salute Al, Alex, Alisha, Amanda, Amy, Angela, Audra, Bulldog, Calvin, Cathy, Charlie (Aussie), Claudine, Dave (Fasab), George, Ginger, Hansi, Jackie, Jeff, Jim (Iowa), Joanne, John (Canada), John (Seattle), Kathy, Kayjai, Kellie, Kelly, Lenora, Leo, Les, Lizzie, Lorna, Mags, Maria (Aquileana), Mary, Meesh, Melissa, Moe, Mollie, Noeleen, Nonnie, Renee, Rich, Rosie, Rosy, Roxie, Sarah, Sekan, Shimon, Starla, Spinny, Suzanne, Tim V, TMB, Val, Viveka, Vanessa, Weebs (Madam Weebles), and White Lady in the Hood who were prominent here at one time. Many stopped blogging,  others still blog but have moved on, and a some occasionally stop by. I have to mention Cynthia, Larry, and Third Stone who died along the way.

Bloggers come and go – Isadora, Jim W, Pauline, and Sylvia may not be 100% regulars, but they visit and comment when they can and have done so for many years. Others like Barbara, Steffy, and Yvette I don’t know where to include, but I want to mention.

Although I previously mentioned (in the first post) those that I consider as “Pioneers”, they helped get me started. I always smile when one of them unexpectedly pops in here. Cheers to Cheers to Tim (Beeze), Mo, Chris, Ryan, and Dave from my days at The Sporting News. A tip of the cap to Joe as he was one of my early frequent visitors and commenters.

I want to mention a few readers who actually know me. Tim has probably read a very high percentage of the posts – and eventually became an active participant. Gary also reads and occasionally tosses in his two cents – and he loves the musicals. Jim is a gentle, good person that was my work colleague for many years. He has read a lot here, but sparingly comments. Thanks gentlemen.

To the one known here as The Right Angle. I don’t think she ever understood this place or the attachments that develop with others – but she tolerated it and let me do my thing. After all, she’s the one who observed my many hours with my laptop as she watched television.

No matter the-when over the past 11+ years, everyone listed here and all the unnamed have been a joy and an honor to know. You have been good to me here, and welcoming at your end. You have played a big role in learning that blogging is about you (the readers), but not about me (the writer). You are good people.

Countless others have visited and commented here. They too have kept me motivated. I say with confidence that I wouldn’t have lasted 11+ years if not for all of you!

Everyone has a selfish side – after all, we are human. In real life, I don’t consider myself as selfish. I recall a discussion at work with a young colleague as we were discussing potential curriculum changes. I knew she understood when she said, “I get it. You are more concerned about how the changes impact the department and what students get instead of your course.” A ballroom friend told me that they’ve never noticed me bringing attention to myself while dancing.  So yes, to me, this blog has been more about you than me – hence the personal salute to many.

Preparing this 5-part retrospective closing has been easier than I anticipated. Well, until now because thinking about all the positive relationships built in my little corner of the world chokes me up. Yes, tears rolled down my face several times. To me, I have learned that blogging is more about the people than the posts – but the posts have been the vehicle for making the connections with people.

Cheers to the majority of people in the world who are good.

Next Post: The Finale (To be published Tuesday 4 Feb @ 9:00 PM Eastern US)

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