Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 16 Keywords

I just can't seem to get ahead of the e-mail, but I'm cutting it back, I really am. Keywords:

animal rescue
Wendy Welch
dilute tortoiseshell cats
petnapping
orangutan
hazards of eating ape meat
coffee
Starbucks
Black Rifle Coffee
mail-order coffee
name-brand coffee
+Tracey Jade Boyer
bargains
Michigan (Yo! Michigan readers! Link to support one of your own, here!)
preschool programs
Cato
gluten-free bundt cake
stroganoff
bulimia
overeating
eating disorders
Ireland
Obamacare
Irish John
phenology
first dandelion of spring 2017
Environmental Protection Agency
Nestle chocolate
Butterfingers
Rosslyn, Virginia
Washington, D.C.
learning styles
sensory preference
psychological difference between rich and poor people
(Amazon link to one or more books giving more information about eye/ear/hand thinking will go here.)
blogging jargon
Yougov
number of morning people versus night people

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 15 Keywords

Keywords to the post you can see for just one dollar:

dog pictures
Michigan
snow pictures
police dogs, German Shepherds, Alsatians
mixed-breed dogs
rescue shelter dogs
cute dog pictures
dog with tiger stripes
Wendy Welch
Caitlin Kelly
+Mindie Dittemore
glass etching
knitting stitch tricks
National Review 
why poor people should never ever move to different cities in search of jobs
football
Super Bowl reflections
Irish John
Tom Brady
New England Patriots
quarterback over age 35
Elizabeth Barrette
cloves
economic issues in Indonesia
John Stossel
Steve Milloy
why I don't think we should completely terminate the E.P.A.
Obamacare
+Alana Mautone
cultivated flower pictures
+LB Johnson
Valentines Day pictures
gifts for non-traditional heterosexual women
gifts for female veterans
Dave Barry
how the Democratic Party can be relevant
Scott Adams
Dilbert
Twitter
paid writing gig
political arguments
news of the weird
words to use when marketing editing gigs

February 14 Keywords

I was online only part of the day yesterday, and didn't reserve enough time to post the keywords for the friends-locked post at Live Journal. For just one dollar you can see the links and comments...I said "pay-per-view," but I'm not online enough to make that a firm rule. If you chip in a dollar and have a LJ account, you'll be able to see everything for a month or so.

cute tortoiseshell cat picture
Valentine card with cat picture
+LB Johnson
cute mixed-breed dog pictures
Rachel Tolman Terry (which of the Rachel Tolmans on Google + is she?)
Hugh Aaron's small press site
Hugh Aaron's novel When Wars Were Won
Chris Pratt
John McDougall, M.D.
McDougall Experience for couples
Laura McKowen
Dan Lewis
+Martha DeMeo
Victoria Cooley (I still don't know which one she is, either)
antique furniture stores
antique stores on U.S.-Canada border
jazz bands
Kyle Etges
Kyle Etges' signature tune
Jim Geraghty
Kim Jongnam murdered
ED (U.S. Department of Education)
Jim Babka
U.S. HR 899 at Popvox

Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 9 Keywords

Yes, I found time to read a lot of things online today. Unfortunately. First in line for the axe if site hosts don't use the Patreon link is Dailygood.org; after that I'll be severing one unprofitable connection after another until the balance of online interaction becomes profitable. If you like publicity, you might want to consider pledging three dollars a month at

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

Keywords for the post you can see for just one dollar:

backyard chickens
Takoma Park, Maryland
Russian Blue cats
cat photos
low-income housing projects
John Stossel
Mexican food
black bean soup
veggie burgers
vegetarian recipes
+Andria Perry
sleep
#BlueLivesMatter
hero cop
Tennessee news
phenology
indoor tomatoes
U.S. Cabinet confirmations
Denver Riggleman
+Sandy KS
romance
semi truck
highway safety
traffic safety
smart TV
Vizio television set
Michelle Malkin
Janet McFarland

Why Am I Still Here?

Of the fifty-some e-mails that came in overnight, two relate to paid writing projects. (After a day as unprofitable as yesterday, I wouldn't have come online today if I hadn't had paid writing projects in the works.) This reading schedule is changing. I may read some e-mail and posts from people who are not paying clients or paid-up subscribers, but my goal for the next few months is to cut back the amount of unpaid online reading I do daily. I'm reluctant to file the whole of Niume or National Review as spam--actually, most of the bacon I receive daily comes from people who have sent useful information at some time or other--but if you want page views, if you want e-mails actually opened rather than moved straight into the bacon folder, start supporting this site now. Three dollars per month will keep me reading a reasonable amount of content that comes from you; about "friends of" e-mail, I make no promises. 

Note that this has nothing to do with whether or not I enjoy reading e-mail--I do. However, my eyes are aging, and I can postpone having to buy extremely expensive custom-made glasses longer if I limit my reading for pleasure to real paper. 

If your money is tight, here are some things to do before whining about it:

1. Cancel your car insurance. Put your car in the garage and take off the tags. If you really need a car for work, let your employer pay for it. If your employer isn't providing a car, walk.

2. Stop eating fast food. If you just want a sandwich, put together a cold one at home. Fill up on raw vegetables instead of fries. If you pay for drinks with your meals, pour your own drinks into your own glass of ice. A quart of coffee, tea, soda pop, etc., prepared at home or in the office, often costs less than a pint in a yucky Styrofoam cup at a fast-food place. In a month you can easily save enough not only to support this blog (and other blogs you read) but also to treat someone special to dinner at a nice sit-down restaurant.

3. Cancel any paid TV service you might have used in the past. If you enjoy watching commercial TV, let the sponsors pay for it. They'd need to pay me to watch their product-supportive shows!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LJ Ate the Links and Then the Computer Crashed...

LJ always was a glitchy site, but LJ's "draft autosaved" and "restore draft" features used to work...until today. I closed the window, expecting five hours' worth of links had actually been "autosaved." I'm not seeing them. I'm not seeing the button to open the draft file and resume using them, either. Sorry, Googlers...that's where the links from the blog feed, which include most of yours, have gone. It's also where the adorable animal photos have gone. I typed them once, I saved the text from the linked documents (not including the pictures) to my own Word file, I'm not typing the links and comments again.

I read these things--the first time--for me. I share them for youall. I might feel more conscientious about making sure they're available to you if I were seeing more e-mail from Paypal, relative to the stuff that screams "Read me first! Me first! Me first!", in the in-box. Frankly, when correspondents are making it clear that they don't care whether I live or die, that makes it hard for me to take any interest in whatever they're spewing into my in-box. Even if it's cute animal pictures.

I thought, well, at least I'd share the rest of the links that came in today...and then some lousy creep had to go and fill up a link with a horrible VIDEO that caused the whole computer to crash, and the Word file got lost. 

This morning I left the house with $2 and change to live on until my next sale or payout, whenever that may be. Today's coffee cost $1.58. 

YOU DID NOT SEND A PAYMENT. I did want, and plan, to give you at least one more blog post. Providence evidently did not agree that you ought to have that.

I'm not one of the "depressed" bloggers, and probably never will be. I am, as of this afternoon, quite likely the most discouraged blogger on Earth. This discouragement is a fact, based entirely on facts, so don't waste any time babbling about any emotions.

The absence of payments shows that you don't appreciate what I'm doing here anyway, so who gives a flying flip about your boring, stupid, patronizing, complacent-cow verbal garbage. Shut up and deal with the fact that YOU KILLED MY BLOG. (And, possibly, me; I have made a public pledge that the next time I run out of food and cash will be the last time, because I'm too old to keep doing starve-and-binge cycles to myself. As long as local people are spending five dollars at a time, if that, on things I'm able to offer for sale in the real world, I can't commit to eating for even one more week, which certainly is not conducive to any genre of writing but blogging. When I go home today, if I reach home without receiving a cash payment, I'll have some time to enjoy puttering around the house...but I've vowed to wait until I see the cash to support a decent lifestyle for a year before I eat again.) If you want it, YOU, nobody else but YOU, needs to fund it.

As you already know, I don't want and won't take any "need-based" handouts. If I'm not earning a living from things I do, then my useful life is over. Emotions are not a factor; I enjoy being alive and I enjoy writing. Health is not a factor; I enjoy excellent health, and as long as I'm able to support it by eating regularly I intend to maintain excellent health. I'm in the perhaps unusual position of having absolutely everything I could want, given that my favorite people are already long dead, except money. The sole factor determining how long I continue to live and write is how much I'm being paid for it. I'm not currently being paid enough to continue living and writing. Attempts to distract attention from this will not help you, me, or anyone else. Focus on the one useful thing you need to think about: YOUR PAYMENT FOR WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED FROM ME. 

I am very, very, very, very, very tired of repeating this--to you, or to myself. 

I am very, very, very, very, very tired...not even so much of not eating because I'm out of cash and groceries, so much as doing that and then readjusting my body to eating again afterward.

I would have liked, after putting my blog on a pay-per-view basis, to have given everyone time to mail out real-world payments instead of having to make payments online...but that's in the hands of Providence, and it doesn't seem to be happening.

If you repeat the following prayer out loud a few times, it's possible that I'll be online again. Do not alter the words of this prayer:

"O [insert name and obligatory salutations to whatever you pray to here]. Please shut off the sputter of 'but...but...but...' that I've allowed to run through my head when I ought to be paying for something I've received and am not being forced to pay by physical fear. Please clear all emotions and thoughts of emotions out of my brain and allow me to absorb the idea that other people's difficulties are real, solid facts having nothing whatsoever to do with emotions. Please send the writer known as Priscilla King a real-world sale this evening, so that she will come into town in time to receive my payment tomorrow. Please erase the irrelevant chatter from my mind and force me to send a payment to this writer now. Please do not allow me to eat food, or drink water, or close my eyes to sleep, before I have paid for what I have received from this writer. Please do not allow me to add a single word to the message, 'Here is my past due payment for your work,' before that message has been received. Please, please, O please, heal my hypocrisy and allow this writer to forgive me for it. Please move my hands and body, even if you need to disable part or all of my brain, to get that payment to this writer this very minute, flooding my brain with the sole thought 'Please may I be forgiven for having put this off for so long'. Please keep me repeating these words until the money has been transferred from me to the writer known as Priscilla King."

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 7 Keywords

I didn't even find any animal pictures on Petfinder. That was due to paid writing. I'll post some tomorrow.

Christian
introvert
fun facts
Dan Lewis
Now I Know (volumes 1 and 2)
neonicotinoid
pesticide
gardening
organic gardening and farming experience
National Geographic online
OrganicLifeMag (Rodale's Organic Life online)
winter survival skills
Mexican history
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
Priscilla King's cat Bisquit
Obamacare
Publius Huldah
U.S. Constitution
abortion 
Ozarque at Live Journal
(Also, indirectly, Joycelyn Elders, Marilou Awiakta, Alice Walker, Grandma Bonnie Peters...)
Thoreau
C.S. Lewis
Oxford University
Nancy Pelosi
Maxine Waters
senior moments

Friday, February 3, 2017

February 3 Keywords

To see it, fund it...here are keywords from the links and comments at today's hidden Live Journal post. Google + friends have seen most but not all of these.

local produce
homemade food
soup or stew
vegetable beef soup
+Andria Perry
vegan soup
onion soup
organic food
Salvation Army
U.S. income tax
frugal
low income
+Marsha Cooper
vegan diet plan
health for vegans
vegan doctors
John McDougall
Mary McDougall
asexual on Valentines Day
alternatives to Valentines Day
International Book Giving Day
children's books
Dr. Seuss books
+Beth Ann Chiles
Alice Walker
movie Fences 
Denzel Washington
+Andrea Mautone (changed her picture, now Google + can't find her)
phenology
Elizabeth Barrette
daffodils
lilacs
bird feeder
small dog
squirrel feeder
large dog
groundhog
+LB Johnson
seagulls
trees
fashion
women's hair
long hair
wavy hair
straight hair
Indian fashion
writing
blog marketing

Mark Warner on the Internet of Things Act

From U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), this form letter to Virginia correspondents is being shared for the benefit of the outside correspondents who sent me e-mail for Senators Warner and Kaine's benefit about two bills that came up for votes recently. U.S. readers may follow these bills on Popvox.

https://www.popvox.com/us/bills/115/s19

https://www.popvox.com/us/bills/115/s88

Since I don't own rights to the correspondence of elected officials, this type of posts will continue to be shared here free of charge. Some background information follows, below:

"

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act (S.88). I appreciate the benefit of your views on this important issue.
As you know, on January 10, 2017, this legislation was introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Should the Senate consider this legislation or similar proposals in the future, I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at http://www.warner.senate.gov.
Sincerely,
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator
"

Background information shared by Priscilla King:

1. These bills authorize the use of federal funds to construct more cell phone and wireless transmission towers. These towers would support an "Internet of Things" that some hope might reduce interference between one type of wireless device and another, and others fear might adversely affect individual privacy by, e.g., allowing a stranger's "smart car" to broadcast messages to or receive messages from an individual's "smart phone."

2. Many fear that building more of these towers closer to places where humans live and work would raise levels of radiation and risks for various disease conditions. Some correspondents from the Northern States claim that this is happening in their areas. Factors influencing the development of cancer, autism, and degenerative conditions that develop in old age are diabolically hard to study in any scientific way; this web site suspends judgment, but does think it would be useful to medical science if suspected factors were isolated in specific "test" areas where the incidence of these diseases could be compared with "control" areas.

3. What I have seen in Gate City, Virginia, is that since a new cell phone tower was built--high on Moccasin Ridge, well away from people's homes and work sites--people have felt free to punish, rather than work with, the Scott County Telephone Co-operative, whose employees have indulged in the type of arrogant behavior typical of tenured employees in any company that is perceived as exercising a monopoly. More of the people I know now rely on cell phones only than pay to maintain real phones, although cell phone service is more expensive, less reliable, a suspected risk factor in diseases, and less satisfactory in every way.

4. On the Internet, although complaints about excessive wireless transmission devices are coming from correspondents in the U.S., the "godfather" managing this correspondence and claiming that "safer devices are available" is associated with Microsoft Canada.

That's all I know. Over to the geeks...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February 2 Links or What You're Missing

Here are the keywords for the post that will show up here when I receive funding...just $1 on Patreon will bring the post to light, both here and on Live Journal, in different formats of course:


gray tabby cats at Petfinder (It's important to fund these posts so they can be published, to help people find these animals!)
cats curl up on quilt
cats curl up beside warm laptop
+Beth Ann Chiles
black Lab
chewy treats for dogs
small dogs
dog toys
birthday
Big Stone Gap, Virginia
Fonda Lee
Caroline B. Cooney
Scott Adams
Dilbert.com blog
Groundhog Day
Elizabeth Barrette
resistors
web design
cell phones
browsers

Free Samples End, with Long True Story and New TOS

Once again, Gentle Readers, you've failed to fund this site.

This link is not showing any contributions from appreciative readers today:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

This link is showing good reviews, but no new requests:

https://www.fiverr.com/users/priscillaking/

Thanks to the grocery bargains I found on Monday, I have frugal food for a few more days at home, but I do not have the price of a cup of coffee. I'm infesting the cafe anyway--today.

This web site's readership has been growing steadily. The computer has gone from logging page views by dozens, through hundreds, into thousands. However, most of you are not posting comments, so I have no idea who you are.

So far as I know, three or four faithful readers are Google employees checking for contract violations. Another dozen or so are Nephews. Another dozen or so are writers who seem to imagine that, because you've written about not being rich either, you're excused from supporting this web site.

Some others, I don't know how many exactly, are political enemies who just love to read that this web site isn't making any money, because they have their left-wing and/or corporate godfathers keeping them fat and loaded with the latest electronic gadgets to make sure I can't even read their sites if I were to want to. They think that that means they are ahead. I'm not sure. Money is certainly an advantage, but I believe there has to be some reason why humans are hard-wired to believe that somehow, even if we fall back on all kinds of weird imaginings to explain just how, moral virtue outweighs even money in the end.

(Fifteen years ago some of the political and philosophical enemies of this web site were trying to claim that the existence of a "spirituality center" of synapses in the brain proved that Powerful Goodness does not exist outside the brain. Hoot! That's like saying that the existence of a "visual center" of synapses in the brain proves that light does not exist outside the brain...)

However, I'm not sure that feeding those people the sadistic pleasure of watching this growing web site, and its writer, starve to death is serving the cause of Powerful Goodness. I don't know that they need to be able to read my blog, until the rest of you readers realize that our enemies really need to be reading how, thanks to your support, this web site has expanded into the Bookstore, Internet Portal, Animal Sanctuary, Folk Music Conservatory, and Suburban Mission it was meant to be, plus a printed magazine and publishing house, and is raking in profits and submarining those who want to crush writers and other small independent entrepreneurs.

Other readers appear to be the kind of middle-class women of whom Deborah Tannen's observations were accurate. Neither really happy nor really unhappy with their own lives, they vent their dissatisfactions by talking to friends at length about things they don't particularly like but aren't willing to do anything to change. When men (or rich women) express dissatisfaction, they hear that as demanding change, resent it, and try to avoid doing more about it than they think the current level of satisfaction-with-their-lives demands. When children (or poor women) express dissatisfaction, they hear that as indicating distress, reach out to pat them and make "poor little thing" noises, and try to avoid doing more about it than they think the current level of satisfaction-with-their-lives requires. When women they perceive as their peers express dissatisfaction, they hear that as the same kind of purposeless whining through which they bond with their personal friends. The bottom line is that these "Contented Cow" types live by the Law of Inertia.

People do tend, understandably, to want to punch these "cows"...although in this case, what I mean by punching them is informing them that, no, being penniless is not something I'm actually enjoying and trying to prevent any change to, the way having to get up to tend to babies is for you. Change has to be made...and obviously a radical change needs to be made at this web site.

As I pondered possible changes last night, what came to mind was a Washington legend that I happened to have the opportunity to know was at least based on a true story.

Once upon a time, there was a Bright Young Thing who didn't have a lot of dates.

In high school, she had had a Boy Friend. It had been a wholesome, age-appropriate, parent-approved relationship, with no suggestion of a commitment, when they went away to college. At her school, and in her few years of grown-up life, she had not met anyone she liked as much as the Boy Friend. Meanwhile, he had not done so well at his school, and had become a Missing Person.

There was still a lot of prejudice against homosexuals and fear that anyone who wasn't dating might be one, so the Bright Young Thing's housemates used to want her to have dates.

Every few weeks, a copy of the Washingtonian or of the Washington City Paper would be left on the breakfast table, with personal advertisements from "Men Seeking Women" circled, words underlined, and "For the Bright Young Thing?" in the margins.

And if she didn't write to any of these young men in care of these fine periodicals, the housemates would write to them on her behalf, or would arrange dates for her.

Accordingly, every few weeks, the Bright Young Thing would go to a nice local restaurant, sip an overpriced cup of coffee, and go through some ghastly imitation of a conversation with a different man who didn't interest her. Some of these men grilled her with questions, and some of them sat there looking unhappily out the window. (A lot of them weren't even young.)

Then a big, hairy, audacious change came along. The Cold War ended. The Bright Young Thing, who was a secretary in a defense contracting firm, was notified that the main project on which she had been working was no longer necessary, and she was therefore fired, albeit with glowing references. It was time for her to be seen out on another date, and she didn't even want to waste the money for another cup of overpriced coffee until she found another job.

Before going home, she went to the office of the Washington City Paper to place an ad under "Positions Wanted."

While she was filling out the form to describe her qualifications as a secretary, she overheard some other Bright Young Things who were there to place their own advertisements. She realized that these were some of the women who advertised their services as "beautiful, upscale, sophisticated social escorts."

Though reasonably good-looking girls, they were hardly world-class beauties. If they looked especially upscale or sophisticated on dates, it didn't show at the newspaper office. Our Bright Young Thing suspected that what these women meant by "upscale social escorts" was, basically, that they were not (or not yet) old burnt-out prostitutes.

However, in some cities there is indeed a market for "social escorts" as completely distinct from prostitutes. There will always be more people who would like to get paid for leading tourists from airplanes to taxicabs, for taking road trips with old people or seeing the sights with teenagers, for applauding at concerts and asking good questions at book parties, even for hanging out with people who are afraid of muggers and kidnappers, than there are people who actually get paid for doing those things; but Bright Young Things do earn money in each of those ways. Some people want to be escorted by a big strong man, and some by a nice friendly-looking woman.

Our Bright Young Thing got into an actual conversation with one of the others, who told her that the wages for being an independent social escort would not pay anybody's college tuition (even back then), but they did pay for treats for her children. For additional income, this social escort was depending on regular payments from a man who was a husband, not hers, and a father, not any of her children's. She had also heard of women who made a good living by going out on dates with single male clients, not as prostitutes, but just "more than 'nice girls' are supposed to do on dates."

Our Bright Young Thing was most definitely a "nice girl," and had not encountered any temptation to change that.

She had also seen Bette Davis in Gypsy--presumably as a rerun on television--and she immediately thought, "This is my Gimmick. If Gypsy Rose Lee could distinguish herself from other strippers by being 'The Lady,' I can distinguish myself from other social escorts by being 'The Virgin'. If I have to have dates until I reach retirement age, and they're never going to be a source of pleasure, at least they can be a source of profit."

So she placed an advertisement for that very thing, along with the one for her services as a secretary. She also invested in a voice mail service (not a cell phone), and a name that didn't sound like the name her housemates knew her by.

That was how the Virgin Courtesan of Arlington was "born."

Within a few weeks she had another day job as a secretary, and as an escort her main client was a disabled woman, but meanwhile she had dates, scheduled weeks in advance.

Before, on dates, she always thought, "I am not in love with this man. Why are we wasting our time?"

Now she felt no need to be in love with any of these men, so she thought, "This one is so different from me, my friends and relatives, or the others. This is my opportunity to find out what it's like to be...a foreign tourist, a retired business executive, a closet homosexual, a ministerial student, a mental patient..." She was actually interested in whatever her male clients had to say.

The result was that the ones who were still actively heterosexual, and single, fell in love with her and competed to offer the most interesting entertainment on real dates--strictly social dates. Instead of thinking "I ought to be able to find someone more impressive than this to date," they seemed to think "I might actually get a chance to go to a concert with the Virgin Courtesan of Arlington--just for the price of tickets and dinner!"

She was seen everywhere, it seemed, and with everybody.

She looked like just another office worker--more simply-and-sensibly dressed than most, if anything. She wore sensible shoes, and long hair pulled straight back in a ponytail. She wore a trench coat everywhere while a lot of people were still draping themselves in bits of dead minks.

I knew her, in real life; she was very much the quiet, understated type, not at all "outgoing." She was interested in people--of both sexes, all ages, and all types--and admitted working on a novel, but she waited for people to come to her.

Nobody ever claimed any basis for doubting that she had been, and remained, a virgin.

She was madly popular, not miserly but frugal, and at (I have no reason to doubt) the age of twenty-six she retired and left Washington. Some said the Boy Friend had turned up, alive, and she went back home and married him.

Washington is full of Bright Young Things; it attracts the brightest and cutest from around the world. What on earth did this ordinary cute chick have that a few thousand other young women didn't have? What she herself said, that I've sometimes ignored but never forgotten, was this: "The key was to put a price tag on the time."

I could see how that applied to social-escorting--the difference between an escort who breaks the rules and falls in love with a client, and a prostitute, being that the escort is not collecting extra money for her or his affections and may even stop charging a fee for the time. I've not read that anyone else has written about applying it to blogging, but it does make good economic sense, generally, and it doesn't seem to be hurting some of the book writers whose blogs I'm following...

I've been posting good content on this web site, free of charge, and all but begging people to read it. That is changing. People who use Patreon successfully are making most of their content visible only to e-patrons.

I've been "friending" and "following" just about anyone who's "friended" or "followed" me, although that's far more people than I could possibly read every day, and many of those people are not even reading my content. That is changing. People who use Patreon successfully are following people on social media only when those people are e-patrons.

I've been linking, promoting, and signal-boosting every piece of content that seemed worth boosting, and although that's been fun for me and may have been helpful to my e-friends, all those signal boosts seem to be getting lost in the clamor of an Internet that's jamming with people who are all screaming, all the time, "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE READ MY STUFF INSTEAD OF SOMEONE ELSE'S!"

Maybe some people do need to do that. Some people, even people I follow, have worthwhile things to say but they're still very new to blogging and/or writing and/or the English language. Posting for free and socializing may still be good ways to build your skills; I wouldn't know.

Some people don't really have anything to say, and only want to blog because they think it will help market their product...I feel for these people. Nature did not intend for all of us to be writers. Possibly the brainquirk that made these people non-writers is the same one that's made them good painters or storekeepers or appliance repairers. Whether a "real" blog "that sounds like me" is what their web sites need, or a "professional" blog with guest posts by real writers is more useful, may vary from site to site.

Me? I'm not exactly a world-class writer. I'm competent at writing well organized and researched nonfiction, or at writing hasty blog posts off the top of my head, or at writing well organized and grammatical guest posts about other people's products from their notes and/or from corporate product review sites. That has been abundantly documented, over these years of blogging.

I hang out at online writing job sites, and requests come in, "Send a link to a sample of a research document, a product review, a travel post, a food post..." and by now I have a sample of each of those things somewhere in the archives of this blog. Can those samples be improved? Absolutely yes. For free? Not... so... fast! Improvements can be negotiated...not for free.

I don't plan to stop blogging unless and until I stop eating, but I am changing the way I do it.

As of today, blog posts will appear on Live Journal first.

They will be "friends-locked." Only designated e-friends will see them.

A couple of active Live Journalists will see them, as will I, on my "recent entries" and "archives" pages with little padlock pictures beside the titles. The Nephews, who are not active Live Journalists, will also be able to see them if and when they like. Otherwise...I'm moving this to Live Journal because I've not been very active there and have very few active "friends" using that site.

Other e-friends will need to become LJ friends in order to see posts. There are two ways to do that, both of which involve money.

One way is for you to have your own Live Journal account (it's free to set one up, but you have to pay LJ to subscribe to additional services if you want your "journal" page to be more than plain typing with an occasional small blurry photo). If you have a Live Journal account, it's up to you whether I can see all, some, or none of any blog posts you put there. (If you're going with the free, minimalist version of LJ, you can link it to your Twitter account, so all your Tweets automatically show up on LJ and count as LJ posts that keep your free LJ account active.) As a paid-up subscriber with a Live Journal account, you will be able to see the hidden LJ posts on your LJ friends page.

Another way is for you to become an e-patron outside Live Journal. You can do this privately, online, on Patreon or (if you're an old trusted e-friend) directly through Paypal, if e-payments are the way you choose to handle all monthly payments. You can also pay for blog posts, on this site or another site, through Fiverr; this option allows you to specify the length and type of post, topic, number of links, etc., for maximum support for your product and/or web site. You can also send money (preferably via U.S. postal money orders) to Boxholder, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. What these three options have in common is that the contents of the hidden LJ posts will be mailed or e-mailed to you, at the address you provide, rather than automatically popping up on that LJ page you choose not to have. (I'm not sure yet how, or whether, blog posts will work on Patreon.)

For each day that a Link Log, Book Review, or most other types of posts, appears online, a list of the keywords will appear here (and on Google +), as will Amazon text links...so those who are not paid-up subscribers will know what they're missing.

I am putting a price tag on my time. If I starve, I starve, but I won't be investing any more money in self-sabotaging by putting my (hastiest, not necessarily best) work out there, constantly, among all the Total Amateurs screaming "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE READ MY STUFF FOR FREE!"

Let's just say...I'm as much better than that, as a writer, as the Virgin Courtesan of Arlington was than other Bright Young Things, as a date.

Writers whose work I enjoy may still be linked--but, in order to find out, they'll need either to pay for the posts in which the links appear, or to wait until someone else pays.

Readers will henceforward get what they pay for. Here are the current Terms of Service; if they change, the changes will show up here:

Free, Courtesy of Google
$0 gets you full access to this web site's well indexed archive, and to the lists of keywords for current posts.

Just $1/Month, Payable in Advance 
$1 gets you access to the hidden posts on Patreon and LJ. If you pay via Patreon, they'll manage your subscription (and also take a bite out of it) so that you'll see hidden posts there for one full month, then receive reminders to pay for the next month. If you pay via postal money order, you can send a money order for "six months' subscription" or "twelve months' subscription" or whatever.

Just $1/Post 
For those who really want to keep it real, $1 also, alternatively, gets you access to a printout of any post of your choice. This feature has been on this site from the beginning and won't change.

$3/Month, Payable in Advance 
$3 ensures that I'll follow your blog, web site, Twitter, and/or Grassfire feed...specifically. (Most Real Twits out there are aware, if they've taken time to think about it, that I notice their Tweets only when their Tweets happen to show up in the two-or-three-minute cross-section of the Twitter stream that opens when I happen to look a Twitter.) For $3, I'll open your Twitter stream and read your Tweets. Or your blog or web site, if they're reader-friendly.

$5/Post
$5 gets the book, topic, product, etc., of your choice, into a publicly visible post at this web site or a web site of your choice. You even get to see a draft and suggest changes before others see it. This is basically what Fiverr and Patreon are offering; you do not have to use Fiverr or Patreon to claim the same reward. The assumption is that if you're not an old established e-friend you trust Fiverr or Patreon more than a writer you don't know...but if you send money to P.O. Box 322 I actually receive the whole $5.

$10/Book 
Regular readers already know that $10 is the price this web site normally charges for a secondhand book in order to make shipping, and Fair Trade Books royalty payments, profitable. (Did you know that you're not limited to books I've already reviewed? Well, you're not. You've been free to suggest books all along.) If you make it a monthly subscription, via Patreon or directly through Paypal or real mail, you can make it a membership in a Book-of-the-Month Club. New or rare books won't be available this way but you can choose almost any ordinary secondhand book Amazon offers...and you can pre-select books.

$20/Credits 
Patreon recommends $20 for an advertorial post that will be publicly visible...monthly if you choose.

$25/Shirt 
Go there, do that, get the T-shirt: Zazzle doesn't like the kind of photos my cell phone snaps but, if you send $25, you can get a unique Zazzle T-shirt. I'll design a Hanes Beefy-T (good quality fabric, durable shirt, wide selection of colors) with a small discreet logo for this site on the front and a big splashy stock photo, as favored by Zazzle, Bubblews, and Niume, on the back. Since the big splashy photos are stock, they can be used this way only once as part of a completely unique printed shirt.

$100/Book 
How unfeeling of Patreon to suggest reviving the Frugal Gracious Living Challenge that you failed to support last year. Sniffle. But we can do that, if you're willing to chip in enough money to make it a happy story. People do want, and need, to read things like "I walked past the bus stop to save bus fare"; they do not want or need to read things like "I've not eaten for three days" or "I'm heartlessly ignoring a friend, to whom I owe money, as she loses her home."

(Additionally, there's more than one way to design a book...I have some other book projects in mind, on which I work when able to enjoy a meal at home. One would be a Christian devotional book, and one (or more) would be a long novel or series of short novels. I've not actually made the time to do more with the zombie book project since no e-friends seemed to like it, but if somebody out there wants to fund zombies, I'll revive my zombies. I've not published a commercial book, as "Priscilla King" or anything else; I have, under my real name, written books and book sections that were privately printed for members of organizations, and worked with authors on books that were commercially successful. A nonfiction book that went into reprints, and has my legal name buried somewhere in the long credits section, is linked below. So if you don't want to read a book about what I've been blogging about, but do want to work with me on some other type of book, a monthly subscription of $100 will get that going.)

$250/Visual Blog 
I've been wanting to do this for a long time, too. Just one $250 monthly subscription, and I'll get that GoPro camera and start posting big splashy photos...of my own, not stock...and have a visual blog on a site like Niume.

$500/Online Devotional Book 
Just one $500 monthly subscription would get the devotionals available online.

$1,000/Store 
Whenever subscriptions add up to $1,000 a month, I'll open the store and start sharing that lovely inspirational story.

Those links again...I'm trying to keep all the rewards equal across sites, although each site has a different way of processing...

Patreon will manage your monthly subscription as an "arts patron":
https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

Fiverr will manage your one-time purchase of a blog post or guest post:
https://www.fiverr.com/users/priscillaking/

Live Journal is where the hidden posts will be...I don't have current information about how well LJ works as an international alternative to sending money via U.S.-based sites or U.S. postal money orders.
http://cat_sanctuary.livejournal.com

And the safest way for you, and most profitable way for me, to receive your subscription payments is via U.S. postal money order:
Boxholder, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia 24251-0322

It's an old book by now...I helped produce it and maintain a web site to keep it on the cutting edge, for years.

Book Review: The End of Faith

A Fair Trade Book


Title: The End of Faith

Author: Sam Harris

Date: 2004

Publisher: W.W. Norton

ISBN: 978-0-393-32765-6

Length: 237 pages of text, 64 pages of endnotes and digressions, 29 pages of bibliography, 14 pages of index

Quote: “Wherever these events [terrorist attacks] occur, we will find Muslims tending to side with other Muslims, no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This is the malignant solidarity that religion breeds. It is time that sane human beings stopped making apologies for it.”

This is the token atheist book at this web site. Well, it’s easy to read. I’ll say that much in its favor. Its author disagrees with me about many things. Plenty of other authors whose books I’ve reviewed favorably, on the whole, disagree with me about many things. This is, after all, the web site where you can find a celiac’s review of a book about wheat bread.  Reasonable minds differ about many things, many of our beliefs and practices are conditioned by our experience, so it’s possible for people to disagree while both of them are “right” and for each of those people at least to respect the integrity of the other’s thought process. Well, in the case of The End of Faith, it’s not possible to respect Harris’ thought process.

On page 252 Sam Harris quotes a correspondent whose e-mail message to him began, “Sam, I like your writing style, but you are an idiot.”

More “rational, scientific” terms could have been used in the place of “idiot”—Harris doesn’t write like a person who, due to autism or whatever other factors, scored below 40 on an I.Q. test. I find myself favoring “reactionary hater.” Sam Harris hates all the religions on Earth because they are built around “dogma.” He claims to be an atheist. He even admits that “the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma,” the “godlessness” of “Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Jong-Il,” is fully as irrational as the “see foreigners, kill foreigners” dogma of the pre-Christian ancestors of the Waorani of Ecuador.

And…and this is a fallacy typically embraced by people with three-digit I.Q. scores…but poor Harris seems to imagine that if people just reviled all “dogmas” impartially, human beings would be capable of rational, objective, logical decisions and would not replace the “dogmas” of traditional religion with weird, new little “dogmas” of their own.  

Poor, poor Sam Harris. He seems to be old enough to know better than this, so the question arises, with apologies to Dorothy Parker,

“Could it be, when he was young,
Someone dropped him on his head?”

Most humans are capable of at least imagining an ideal of Pure Reason in adherence to which we might purge some aspects of our thinking of irrational dogmas and emotions and so on. We can do this because we have a whole layer of brain tissue that no other species has. We do not, however, think with that layer of brain tissue alone, or even primarily. A lot of what goes on in our brains goes on in the parts of the brain that other species share. We do some things as mindlessly as a snake, other things as much on the basis of conditioned reactions as a dog. Whether we’re able to explain these choices in words or not, the brain reactions themselves do not take place in the part of the brain that processes words and logic. Nobody has time to think through “The thing that just bumped my knee might have been a predator” by way of explaining the knee-jerk reflex; we just do it. We just do a lot of other things, too.

We do many of those things consistently enough that the only way Pure Reason allows us to understand them is as reliable, healthy, what we might call sane reactions to external reality. Not all humans see a difference between light and dark, nor do all humans who can see light see a difference among red, green, and blue light, but enough of us do that we can agree that light and color exist. Not all humans hear a sound when someone presses middle C on a piano, nor do all humans who hear the sound hear a difference between C and D, but enough of us do that we can agree that sound and pitch exist. Not all humans recognize any cognitive experience they have as being “spiritual” or connected in any way to a Great Spirit, nor do all humans who have spiritual experiences believe the same things about the Great Spirit, but enough of us do…yes. Exactly. Efforts to purge “religion” out of human thought are inherently doomed in the same way that efforts to purge color and music out of human thought have been. For those of us who aren't condemned to it by disabilities, a godless worldview is both unrealistic and boring.

In the Bible the fool who “has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1) is not expressing the honest doubt of an unfortunate person who has never had a spiritual experience, nor even the anguished doubt of a person whose spiritual experience seems painfully incongruous with a world where innocent lifeforms suffer, but merely the recklessness of a criminal mind. “I’m the ‘smartest’ person in this scenario, or the strongest or fastest, or at least the only one with any reason to anticipate what I’m planning to do, so I can get away with this or that vicious act. The others won’t be able to catch me.” The psalm was saying, in context, “Even if the people you’re planning to harm can’t catch you, Something or Someone will.” 

People like Sam Harris usually have more sophisticated, “rationalistic” ways of expressing that idea, as Harris does, on page 191: “[W]e can hypothesize that whatever a [person’s current level of happiness is, his condition will be generally improved by his becoming yet more loving and compassionate, and hence more ethical. This is a strictly empirical claim—one that has been tested.” It is not, in fact, a claim that has always been confirmed by empirical tests; if you rule out the idea of rewards on a spiritual plane or in an afterlife, it’s easy to find situations in which loving, compassionate, and ethical behavior leads directly to greater unhappiness. That loving, compassionate, and ethical behavior generally leads to greater happiness often depends on a person’s faith in Powerful Goodness, which is often a matter of “dogma.” 

Humans can be taught to substitute various lesser ideals—forces of nature, idealized absent persons,idealized leaders, abstract notions like “the Tribe” or “the Family” or “Humanity,” a totalitarian state or its dictator—for the Great Spirit, and worship those lesser ideals. This is what the Bible writers called idolatry. 

Two kinds of people are tempted to idolatry: the person with the spiritual sensory impairment, whose brain fails to process spiritual experiences or ideas, and the person whose self-esteem is so low that the person feels fit to worship only “lesser gods.” Such people have sincerely worshipped odd-shaped rocks, the skulls of dead enemies (or even prey animals), “saints” whose legends can be traced to fictions based on mistakes, “ancestors” who might not have recognized any of their lives in the stories about them and who weren’t the ancestors of some of their worshippers in any case, body parts, diseases, vermin, a Marxist-Leninist State, and (in our generation) the idea of a successful global government.  It is not easy to substitute such “images” for what most of us perceive of the Holy One, but we could teach ourselves to do that if we really tried; idolatry is an error that fits into the way human minds work.

Humans cannot be taught to think on a purely logical, cerebral-cortex level at all times. That does not fit into the way human minds work. We achieve rational thought, with much practice and effort, about as easily as we achieve swimming, and can sustain either act about equally long. Humans who try to swim for too long at a time drown; humans who try to ratiocinate without letting themselves react to sensation, emotion, and conditioning for too long at a time are insane. Humans who never learn to swim and suddenly fall into deep water also have a tendency to drown; humans who let themselves be ruled by conditioning and emotion alone, without reasoning and questioning, also have a tendency to be or become insane. Harris is rational in his indictments of the insanity of excessive dogmatism, but if he imagines that it’s possible or desirable to free ourselves from all irrational or dogmatic reactions, he has lost touch with reality.

If anyone else out there cares to see an example of how, when atheistic thought and writing is good, it’s still not very good…I don’t expect to resell the copy of The End of Faith that I personally threw into a bag at a dime-a-dozen book sale, a few years ago. The true history of this volume is worth sharing. It was a shiny new book in perfect condition, probably donated by a person who had rejected it on sight without reading it. I read it, liked Harris’s style, spotted his fallacy, and thought “This would be a good gift to send to a really annoying Christian,” the idea being to channel the annoying Christian's harangues toward a conveniently remote target. I left it on a shelf, and some kittens got onto that shelf. My cats usually ignore books when they have access to them. But The End of Faith was printed on paper that resembles newsprint more than other books that were on that shelf, nice absorbent paper, a nice thick stack of it. When I picked it up again, the shelf and even the first hundred pages or so of The End of Faith still looked clean, but I knew I wasn’t going to send this book to anyone as a gift. .

I cannot believe that any of my cats actually reads—certainly not at the age of ten weeks. Most of them seem to hear and understand only a few words, although they recognize “tone of voice.” Most of the time they pay no attention to books. But when they have paid any attention to books, their reactions to books have seemed remarkably like reactions they might have had if they had been able to read the books. There may well be a scientific basis for this; my hands may leave super-subtle pheromonal cues, as yet undetected by science but no less real, on the book jackets. Then again, my belief that cats are more likely to react to pheromones as yet undetected by science than they are to have some sort of psychic intuition about what’s inside a book…is the kind of belief that can only be classified as “dogma.” Much as I enjoy thinking about things in a scientific way, humans think in dogmas. We always have and we always will. The idea that humans can think without recourse to “dogma” is, itself, a “dogma.”

If anyone wants to read The End of Faith, I’ll sell you a clean copy, as a Fair Trade Book, on this web site’s usual terms, and send a dollar per book to Harris or a charity of his choice. $5 per book, $5 per package, $1 per online payment; four books of this size would fit into one package, easily, and if they all cost $5 per book the package would cost $25 by postal money order or $26 by Paypal.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 1 Links

Today's Categories: Fundraising, Animals, Books, Charity, Crafts, Education, Marketing, Ohio, Phenology, Pictures, Psychology, Writing, Zazzle.

Fundraising Link

If you are an adult reader whose income for the past year was over US$12,000, you're much better off financially than I am, and you should support this web site. The safest and simplest way to do that is to send a U.S. postal money order to Boxholder, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. (Attention junkmailers: all junkmail is recycled right in the post office.) If you're not already on the e-mail list(s) of one or more of the real-world members of this web site, e-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo for the appropriate Paypal information to use to support whichever aspect of this blog you would most miss if it starves to death. Or send the price of a week's worth of coffee, plus 10% since funding sites have to live too, to this link:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

Animals 

"Ticked off" tortie cat? Well...startled. (Heather, having become a lonely lap cat, often gives me this sort of look while lap-napping. I read it as "Why'd you have to go and move?" She's not angry--usually follows this look with what she seems to imagine will be comforting licking, nibbling, and kneading, which I understand to mean "Now settle down and sit still so I can finish my nap." Mudpie, however, looks grumpy in the photos linked below because she's fat and/or pregnant...her message might include a bit of "Urgh, moving made that nasty cramp come back.")

http://www.mochasmysteriesmeows.com/2017/02/ticked-off-tortie.html

Mudpie is a reliable source of cute cat pictures, but we can't always search for calico cats at Petfinder. Hmm. What about...orange and white cats?

Ethan
Poor little Ethan is a prisoner of the Humane Pet Genocide Society. Which is more important: rescuing Ethan, or denying HSUS money? https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37041215
Garfield and Jon
Garfield and Jon were separated from their other siblings and are sticking together in Arlington: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37138240
Oni
Oni has a home (in New York) and isn't pleased that his human puts some sort of silly "job" ahead of staying home with him. (He's never met Heather but they have ideas in common.) Something about that expression of intelligent discontentment reminds me of my late lamented Bisquit, although she had bigger and paler orange spots... https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/36985635

On the dog side, Abby the Lab recommends:

Peace Love and Paws Short Sleeve Shirt - Crewneck
This isn't even an Amazon link; it links to a Lab rescue e-store.
Everyone needs to read Abby's Human's book...the new one:

Amazon still has copies of The Book of Barkley and Saving Grace, too.


Both cat and dog fanciers may want to take advantage of this news: Animal shelters across the United States are reducing "adoption fees" to $14 for the first two weeks of February. I checked. Some of these are HSUS shelters (beware!), but none of them is a shelter that I personally know to have been involved in petnapping scams (which means nothing really--please investigate all shelter pets' backgrounds carefully).

http://network.bestfriends.org/adoption-promotion-participants

Books 

+Beth Ann Chiles recommends Plan Cee:

http://itsjustlife.me/plan-cee-cover-reveal-giveaway/

Charity 

For those who are new to Beth Ann Chiles' blog, this post explains the "Comments for a Cause" system, and the charity you'll be supporting by commenting this month:

http://itsjustlife.me/comments-cause-molding-young-lives-one-time/

Crafts 

How to knit "gritty"...on a grid:

https://gannetdesigns.com/2017/02/01/gritty-a-free-lace-knitting-stitch-pattern/

Education 

Some five-year-olds love to put gender labels on things. I was one. It was like a way of telling the world "Do not lump me together with my little brother! I'm a separate person...a girl!" This teacher, however, hasn't grown past that stage, and she also hasn't figured out how to engage girls in building and calculating. She is pushing these poor girls. "Girls only Lego club--no boys allowed," and if that doesn't do it "Boys will get their turn to play with Legos later {when Hell freezes over)"...Er-herm, y'stupid cow, Hell and most of Michigan should get a good layer of ice tonight...

http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/hell-mi/48169/weather-forecast/2211114

Note that this Blaze post is actually a rerun; The Blaze followed up--to prod the teacher, and, I suspect, to direct attention to a story mentioning Legos...and apparently this teacher still hasn't thought of a way to lead and teach and inspire rather than bossing and bullying the students. If you want to get little girls interested in building things so that they learn math skills, some of the more obvious things to try would be: (1) Older girls or women play with blocks, or better yet build child-sized playhouses, with them. (2) Girly themes for building contests: "My Dream Bedroom," "My Play School," "Ultimate Dollhouse." (3) Bring in dolls and/or toy animals of the appropriate sizes and suggest that the girls build houses for them. Duh!

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/01/31/kindergarten-teacher-refuses-to-let-boys-play-with-legos-in-the-name-of-gender-equality/

Marketing 

This one's no longer news; it's been sitting in a file of pages I was able to read, but not link, while offline...

http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/4124191.html

Ohio 

Why would people from Virginia go to Ohio to hike in a National Forest? Hmm...because it could be the last chance? I, Priscilla King, support this petition and would like to take this hike. Adayahi, who has lived in Ohio and gone there as a visitor, does not support the petition...but in his demurral I hear undertones of "Better them than us" that I don't like. I say we need to reduce petrochemical consumption, not depend on fracking or strip mining or other abuses of the land God gave us, because what God gave us was stewardship not ownership; the right to use but not to destroy. GBP has so far stayed off this whole topic. In any case, here's the petition, for whatever it's worth to you readers.

https://www.change.org/p/united-states-department-of-the-interior-stop-the-auctioning-of-wayne-national-forest-for-oil/u/19257023

Phenology 

We had snow on Sunday night and Monday morning; although air temperatures were well below freezing, they didn't stay there long enough for ground temperatures to go far below freezing, so all our little patches of snow melted before midday on Monday. +Alana Mautone , back in upstate New York, got enough snow to post pretty pictures:

http://ramblinwitham.blogspot.com/2017/02/winter-wonders-warmish-february.html

Pictures

What's a tufa? This:

http://thevagabondtabby.tumblr.com/post/156649377303/archatlas-sand-tufas-you-could-be-forgiven

John Horvat shares photos from Lourdes. He's a Catholic and takes the shrine very seriously. I'm not, and hope this comment won't strike Catholics as disrespectful of their sincere belief that this place is holy...that street! Kingsport readers, this is what a real "road diet" looks like.

http://www.returntoorder.org/2017/01/pilgrimage-desolation-growth-lourdes/

Psychology 

Why I've always found it useful to make a very sharp distinction between what seems superficially "nice" and what is genuinely "good"...

http://thevagabondtabby.tumblr.com/post/156630990269/i-sometimes-wish-i-could-turn-into-a-dragon-when

Writing 

Jerry Jenkins:

http://www.jerryjenkins.com/know-youre-finally-finished-rewriting-enough-revision-enough/

Zazzle 

Wedding invitations are what's on sale on Zazzle today. This one shows dates; if you check out the category on Zazzle you'll see all kinds of designs meant to frame your (or your adult child's) engagement photos, as well as names and dates, on cards sent to your (yourall's) friends.


Modern Typography Photo Wedding Save the Dates Card

Modern Typography Photo Wedding Save the Dates Card

by stylelily

The Glamorous Life of a Writer, Even When Paid

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."

https://nitabeshear.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/twelve-classy-insults-from-the-past/

What did I do Monday?

6:00 a.m.: Wake up. Turn up the heat. Pull covers back over head for another forty winks while bedroom warms up.

7:45 a.m.: Bedroom is still on the chilly side, but further sleep is impossible. Enjoy lovely view of patchy snow, at least until thinking about what needs to be done today becomes unavoidable. Temperature is in the low twenties, Fahrenheit, well below freezing.

8:15 a.m.: Call local lurker who has sometimes offered use of Internet on Monday. Wait for reply. Local lurker's Internet is not available. Possibly this is because you are not making actual money on the Internet every day, so local lurker is not interested in studying your strategy any more. The only payment you've received for the previous week's online activity is a Michaels giftcard. You started receiving those about the time you lost the only sponsor you've ever had who actually liked going to Michaels with you, the painter who finally died at the age of 89.

9:30 a.m.: Call less-local lurker who has more than once mentioned shopping trip to Kingsport, since if Michaels giftcard is in the mail, which it should be, this trip may be worth the trouble. Wait for reply. Less-local lurker doesn't want to bother coming through Gate City in time to do this on a Monday.

10:00 a.m.: Air temperature remains around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, though ground temperature isn't all that cold and snow is beginning to melt in sun. Put on thick sweater underneath heavy-blanket-weight shawl. Go to post office. Collect Michaels giftcard. Decide to walk, as shawl is adequate for this weather. Reflect on all the cold-weather situations in which this shawl has served you well: sitting in warehouse market space in refrigerator-cold weather, actively working open-air markets in freezing-cold weather, 20-mile walk in 20-degree chill during blizzard...Give thanks to the Creator who made you a knitter. Say a blessing for Deborah Newton, whose quick and easy pattern inspired you to string together a lot of leftover ends of yarn to make this, your very first hand-knitted shawl, which didn't cost you a penny and has been worth its weight in gold.

There's a new paperback edition of this book; hurrah! Not many patterns, and the patterns are sort of odd, but lots of information and inspiration. I've had the hardcover book for almost twenty years and am not about to sell mine.


(Newton's original shawl was knitted with just one strand of yarn on thick needles, and is lacy and pretty. Mine was knitted with one scrap of wool or mohair and one of acrylic in almost every stitch, and is literally a blanket and a half--it forms an L-shape, but if I lie down I can curl up under two-thirds of it and throw the other third over my head. It looks more like a Mexican poncho than like a Shetland shawl.)

10:30 a.m.: Old man parked outside gas station, in position that suggests he's waiting while his wife uses the convenience store, steps out of vehicle to speak to you. Does not identify himself, but rushes to show that his vision is much, much worse than yours by blurting out, "Our church has a blanket ministry! Could you use this blanket?"

I am not making this up.

Here I am, wrapped up in a blanket and a half. I am the grandmother of blanketry, the wellspring of blankets. And this idjit is shoving a tacky little summer-weight blanket, made in a sweatshop in China, toward me. That cheap little thing might make a cute coverlet on a hospital bed, but for sure it would not turn snow--which my blanket shawl does.

Somebody has made the terrible mistake of teaching this old amadan things to say to a homeless person in the unlikely event that he ever sees one--my town has never had a homeless population--and he's so locked into his script that he has no idea to whom he's even parroting it.

(Amadan is Irish; it's traditionally translated by "fool," but without the connotation of hate that "fool" acquired from being used to translate the Greek word more in Matthew 5:22.)

I say gently, "Can you see what I have?"

I'm not sure that he can. As his face comes into focus for my astigmatic eyes, it appears to me that his baggy-lidded blue eyes are looking at me but not necessarily seeing details like the shawl. He continues to spout his little spiel, "I was just trying to help you."

"If you want to help me, I have some handcrafts you can buy!"

He backs hastily back to his vehicle. "I don't need to buy anything!"

At least the pleasure of reading his obituary isn't likely to be far away.

Walking away, hoping his wife is driving, find a good deal of free money on the way to Kingsport. Three handfuls of pop-tops (the cans are still there, if any local lurkers need a few dollars). Enough actual coins to buy a snack at Michaels, if all that hungry. Lots of miscellaneous metal. Somebody's even left a few scraps of men's clothing, deliberately cut into pieces, a pair of boots, three pairs of shoes, and one extra boot and one extra shoe, on a street corner; leave that where it is, in case the original owner is looking for it.

2 p.m.: There's a reason why breakfast and lunch have not been mentioned in this timetable. All the same, the prices on snacks at Michaels--double their price at Krogers, which is only three long blocks away--motivate me to stick to yarn and knitting magazines first. Michaels does not have Knitter's or Interweave Knits but has filled up its rack with random news magazines. Michaels is not trying to cater to the serious crafters who are its original clientele. The yarn department has shrunk to less than half its original size and replaced most of my favorite yarn brands with store brands, ick. Well, it makes sense that Michaels isn't trying to compete with Wal-Mart on anything Wal-Mart might stock, but...lose those store brands and silly half-inch-thick broomstick-"knitting" yarns, please! Nevertheless it doesn't take long to find a clearance sale on just the right amount of Bernat yarn to knit a Sally Melville sweater from the "knit when the right yarn goes on sale" list, and also use up my giftcard quite nicely. (And, as always, I find half a dozen other yarns that make me think "I want to come back when this is on sale.")

Bernat Small Acrylic Baby Co-Ordinates Ball of Yarn, Buddy Blue/Multi-Colour by Bernat
Warning: if the store near you has already sold the last of this novelty yarn, the seller offering it on Amazon intends to exploit its scarcity. Novelty yarns are sold for one season only. This season's shades-of-blue sportweight boucle acrylic yarn from Bernat is more of a denim blue, and will make stripes rather than flecks.

This collection of Sally Melville designs was not intended to flatter top-heavy women...but I've already sold some of the sweaters to women who weren't top-heavy. What I plan to make with the blue fleck yarn is the hoodie, which is less specifically for bottom-heavy women than the sweaters on the front of the hardcover book.

There's a new paperback edition, and even a Kindle edition...any body can wear some of the sweaters in this book.

4:00 p.m.: Ooohhh, the frustration. Kroger is running sales on everything you like to buy when you're there. Want to buy about $50 worth of groceries. Have $9. 

4:05 p.m.: Break down and send text message to that less-local lurker, who has reached Gate City by now. Rationalize that this person will want to stock up on groceries at Kroger, too, when person sees these sale prices. Realize that on Mondays, after weekends upstate, this person really wants to settle back into person's Gate City house and not drive any more, and also this person qualifies for senior discounts on Tuesdays, and you are shamelessly exploiting the person's protective parental feelings, fear of cold weather, and tendency to say "Oh I can buy that for you"--which is inexcusable, when (a) it's not senior discount day and (b) you're not prepared to reimburse the person via Paypal for who knows how many more weeks.

4:07 p.m.: Meet another person who lives further into Virginia than you do, and will be driving through Gate City, right there at Kroger. 

4:08 p.m. Send another message to the less-local lurker before that person wastes any gas. 

5:30 p.m.: Eat most of your $9 worth of bargain-price groceries.

6:30 p.m.: Give thanks that your cat, although a Listening Pet, does not actually understand enough English that you need to bother trying to explain while, when trying to pick out just $9 worth of bargains at Kroger, you completely forgot about kibble. Anyway you're still feeding only two cats, and you bought human food the cats can share, so the cats consider their share of your meal plus the last bits of kibble in the bag to be a good dinner. Purr. Purr. 

7 p.m.: You should be writing book reviews. You are not. Your mind really wants to come up with a strategy that will persuade the churches that "have a blanket ministry" to pay American women to knit snowproof, useful blankets, instead of buying cheap garbage from China. You think of some, too, but unfortunately they all depend on the persuasive power of rich and famous people. In order to accomplish this or any other good thing you really need to focus on getting better funding for your online bookstore.

The following chunk of text will show up here until it has met its monthly subscription goal, or until I've given up eating altogether, whichever comes first:

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