Category Archives: Word Press

By Any Other Name

Sometimes,  as I fulfill my contractual duty to the WordPress community to write about all the news that is, well, news-y, I find myself unable to keep up with the fast pace of the current most blog-worthy items.

For example, today I wanted to write about the Bundy Boys while I sipped my coffee at breakfast.  I wanted to rant about bozos with bazookas, but alas, I had to go to work.  I could not rant.

You’ve heard about the Bundy Boys, haven’t you?  Ammon and Ryan (Ammon???? WTF?)  Two sons of Cliven Bundy have taken over federal land (a bird sanctuary, because we all know that those folks pack heat(ed hand and foot warmers) to protest what they claim is unfair guv’ment action.

Here is the low down from the Washington Post:

A group of armed anti-government activists remained encamped at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon on Sunday evening, vowing to occupy the outpost for years to protest the federal government’s treatment of a pair of local ranchers set to report to prison Monday.

The occupation of a portion of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 miles southeast of Burns, Ore., began a day earlier, after a small group of men broke off from a much larger march and rally held on Saturday evening

The armed occupation is being led by Ammon Bundy, an Idaho rancher whose father, Cliven Bundy, led an armed standoff with federal agents in Nevada in 2014 and who has described his supporters as “militia men.”

Oregon birds 1

If you continue trying to send these convicted arsonists to jail, I will hold my breath until I turn blue.  Oh, yeah, I AM blue.  My bad.  (Google Image)

 

On the way to work, I formulated perfect sentences expressing my disdain for folks who claim to be patriots but who work against the government.  Petulant ammosexuals.  Boys with more guns than either brains or balls.  And if you’ve been paying attention, you might recall that I’m not big on guns.  Or dopes. Or armed-fucking-rebellion.

Well, today, the delay in my blog drafting reaped rewards.  Huge rewards.

Because at lunch time, because the interwebs are/is alive with ideas on just what to call the Bundy Boys.  As described in a Huffington Post article, folks are rising to the challenge of just exactly to what to call the boys.

Here are the current contenders:

#Y’All Qaeda

#VanillaISIS:

#YokelHaram

#al-Shabubba, and say the group is waging #YeeHawd

I thought we might help.  You see, originally I had planned to insert a poll RIGHT HERE to see which name y’all prefer, but in the newest new Word Press format, there appears no way to insert a poll.*

Oh and the two men who inspired this anti-guv’ment protest?  They were convicted of arson on Federal land and they served some time in prison.  Recently a federal judge determined that they had been improperly sentenced, and that there was additional time to be served.

But my favorite tweet?

Every successful revolution starts with takeover of closed visitor center with gift shop.

These two guys oppose the Bundy Boys, and turned themselves in today.  They didn’t condone the Bundy Boys take over of the bird sanctuary-with gift shop.

In fact, it seems that self-proclaimed “patriots” — “militia men” are fallin’ all over themselves to distance themselves from the Bundy Boys.

I can’t imagine why.  Can you?

***

* When the Bundy Boys are done with this here protest, I’m gonna call them up.  Then they can take over Word Press and we can call it:

#stop-all the damn changes-Word-Press-or-I’ll-shoot

***

This story just keeps on giving.  Just after I posted, I read this post, by I Tried Being Tasteful.

You really can’t make this shit up.

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Do I Hear Five?

On May 29, 2011, I was fifty-four and a half years old.  And I was seriously irritated at the GOP in Congress.  You see, they had announced that they were going to take away Medicare from those then under 55 years old.  And that meant me.  I spouted off about it to anyone who would listen.

They’re gonna take Medicare from ME!  I’m 54-1/2!  That’s where they’re gonna start!

After the first 528 times I mentioned this fact to each and every person I could corner, I still felt unsated.  I wanted to tell more people of my irritation.  Whether or not I knew them.

And so I heard a voice inside my head (something I rarely admit to):

Go forth, it said,  and start a blog.

Oh and give it a stupid name to keep yourself humble.

And so I did.  Both of those things.  FiftyFourAndAHalf was born with this post.

Blogging has been a completely different experience than I expected.

My original plan was to do a political/humor blog.  But in spite of a never-ending source of fodder, I found that I wanted to write about other things, too.  That part didn’t really surprise me.

What surprised me was that blogging, and Word Press, became a place where I met new friends, discussed topics important to me.  Where I laughed and cried along with folks I will probably never meet.

Thanks, everybody.  And while I’ve been writing less than usual and reading less than usual, I love the special place that is the ‘sphere.  So, yeah, thanks for being out there, for reading, and for giving me stuff to read too.

From Daily Kos.com

From Daily Kos.com

 

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Shades of Gray — Copycat Edition

Doobster of Mindful Digressions named me in a photography challenge.

And since I am really a rotten photographer (but I do Google Images with finesse), I figured, what the hell.

Here are the rules:

The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Post a black & white photo daily for five posts in a row.
  2. Invite someone different to participate each day.

Ummm, except for photos of my black and white dog, which I take in color but still end up being black and white due to the subject matter, I don’t really do black and white.  I don’t do much in color, either.

But here goes.

My old headder in color

My old headder in color

 

And now, if I can figure out how to do it …

Does this work?

Does this count?

 

OK.  I’ll do it right.  I think ..

I did it!  With Doobster's help.

I did it! With Doobster’s help.

 

I’m going with the color one(s), I don’t know about you!

These are pictures of the place in Maine where my family goes in the summer — and occasionally in the winter.

I’m not going to challenge anyone to do this — feel free to do it and link to Doobster.  But it is kind of neat to see my photo in black and white.

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Climate Change, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Love, Maine, Word Press

How I Became A Famous Humor Writer

You might as well start gagging now. Because as a fake humor expert, I am bound and determined to tell you how it is done.

(Oh no!  I already violated one of the principles of writing — “Show,” don’t “Tell!”  Rats!)

When I wrote my post Trifecta! the other day, many commenters were shocked to find out that I had studied humor writing.

I’m not quite sure how to take that.

I mean, can’t you tell that this has been a life-long pursuit of mine? That I have been through decades of intensive training and Dick Van Dyke show watching?  Doesn’t my brilliant technique shine through? You know, like shinola?

I will stop being an ass now. Although being an ass is fun – and funny (see Steve Martin, for example).  And it comes so easily to some of us …

On to the Public Service Announcement

 PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!

PSA2

Surprise is an excellent humor technique. Google Image, Natch.

 

When I said that I “studied humor writing” in Trifecta, I applied the first and most important rule of humor writing:

EXAGGERATION

So yeah, I “studied” humor writing. I took a course. One course. Online.

I’d been writing professionally — as a fake medical expert — for years; but it’s very dry. I am not. (Well, sometimes.)  But I wanted to have some fun, and so I started taking writing classes.

Humor Writing I was the second of three courses I took at Gotham Writers Workshop. (The first was Creative Writing 101 and the third was a Memoir course.) You can probably tell by the fact that I took THREE courses from them that I thought they were pretty good – or that I learned enough to justify the cost. Or that the courses coincided with baseball season. Or basketball season. Perhaps Lacrosse.

The first lesson of the class was the hardest, and most fundamental:   Written stories have to be structured differently than spoken ones or they are not funny.

Our first assignment was to tell a funny story you’d told a million times. This’ll be a breeze! I thought. I chose one that I’d been telling for 30 years to tears of laughter. After three days of trying, I posted a question on the online chat room:

“Has anybody else found that they are suddenly no longer funny?”

Everybody in the class felt they were no longer funny.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to write.  My hilarious — time tested — story fell flat. Writing that story up made me realize just how different humor writing is from just plain ole writing. And it made me realize that I had a lot to learn. I still do.

Anyway, if you click on the link above, you will get the synopsis of the course. It mentions a few principles of humor writing – ones that I really do use a lot. And the course led me to start this blog – (because what the hell else would I do with the stuff I wrote there?).  I am not sure it would be appropriate to sue Gotham for that, though.

There are lots of techniques and skills that I learned. The ones I use most often are:

The Rule of Three. Things are inherently funnier in threes. The Three Stooges (who I don’t think are at all funny); the Three Little Pigs; the Three Musketeers. The course taught me to look for threes whenever I was trying to be funny. It is something I do consciously now. Because for some reason it really does work. Even when I don’t use threes, I find that looking for them focuses my thinking on the two or four or however many end up in my story.

Snowballing is another good technique. That one I’m pretty sure you can figure out for yourself. Especially after this winter.

It enabled me to find my “voice.” Showed me ways to look at stupid people and present them at their, ummm, most realistic. Dialog. Comparisons to normal life. 

Two of my early blog posts were assignments in the class. They are still some of my best.

Downsizing

Manitoba Bound

I am not promoting or being paid (alas) by Gotham. But I promised to write about my humor writing studies.  The teachers taught me a lot, but much depends on the level of participation in the class.  It was great in the first two, sadly lacking in the Memoir course.

I don’t have any pretenses to being the next Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry.  But if you want to start paying me the big bucks in exchange for some snark, feel free to contact me!

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Four Thousand Crazy People?

Today I reached a milestone that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

The day didn’t start out quite so warm.  In fact, just the opposite:

My picture.  Taken with MY iPhone.  Take THAT Google images!

My picture. Taken with MY iPhone. Take THAT Google images! The Potomac River, expressing my feeling that with the GOP in charge of both houses, Hell IS Freezing Over.

 

But now I have a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  Coffee and oatmeal helped, but really it was the number that did it.

“I have 3,999 blog followers!” I told John last night, excitedly.

As in all things blog-related, he just looked back at me and politely held back the “so what” he was thinking.  (Can I see a show of hands of folks whose significant other has zero, zip, nada interest in all the wonders of blogging?)

For a non-stats watcher, well, I was watching this one.  It was kind of like New Year’s Eve, when I just have to watch the countdown.  And I have to do it aloud.

So this morning, while I was reading blogs I got my 4,000th follower!

PROOF!

PROOF!

There I was, commenting on Felix the Cat and I saw the orange star light up!  And heeeeeerrrrreeee he is — my 4,00th follower:

Snakes in the Grass

A Blog of Retirement and Related Thoughts

Stolen directly from his blog.  Yes, I am that kind of woman.

Stolen directly from his blog. Yes, I am that kind of woman.

He blogs about retirement, technology and his new life in Florida.  He’s a new blogger — I am his 33rd follower!  And that’s a nice number, too.  Go check him out.

Thank you all for reading my stupidly named blog, for commenting, for “liking” and even for arguing.  Thank you for writing the crazy, varied, dramatic, thoughtful, sarcastic, mind-blowing pieces you guys post.  Blogging is a blast, and I really treasure the very real relationships we have developed here in the tubes.

Do I hear 5,000?

 

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Family, Humor, Word Press, Writing