Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bloggers Vent: And How to Buy Cool Postcards

Once again, Gentle Readers, I wonder exactly who you are. I know some of you belong to political lobbying groups that subscribe to this web site on the principle of knowing your enemy, and this web site is your political enemy all right, although we probably have mutual friends and points of agreement. Some of you typed into a search engine something that may have been discussed here years ago (those links to cheetah pictures, Lent jokes, and health food stores in Kingsport keep popping up), or something your search engine may have mistaken for something discussed here. Some of you are fans of people whose web sites are loosely allied with this one, e.g. Karen Bracken, Gary DeMar, Andrei Codrescu, Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Carol Stopps, all references to any of whom tend to boost page views. We will try to post more about more people whose fans would be likely to appreciate this web site, and we will try to avoid taking their names in vain, as I just did, but mention them only when actually publicizing their work.

The group "readers" and the group "sponsors," on this web site, overlaps only occasionally. Sponsors have so far been people I know in real life. Every time I ask them for comments, in cyberspace I get nothing, and in real life I get "Oh, I've not had time to go online since January," or "I'm sure you're doing something good--why don't you print out more of it so I can read it?" Or--and you probably have to be a writer whose friends are mostly older than you to appreciate the angst this produces--"I looked at it, once in 2011! Keep up the good work! I (remember George Peters) (miss your deceased relative) (love your living relative)! I (don't have a computer) (don't do e-mail) (don't know how to use a computer) (have seen the computers at the library but never used one)..." I hate that they're getting so old and tired-eyed.

I know some of you don't have any money; a lot of people read the Internet because they can't afford a real-life newspaper. And some of you lost electricity and/or Internet service this week. And some of you have very limited online time. But this lack of overlap raises the question: What percentage of people who read this web site actually like it?

One of the e-mails from people whose e-mails I always take time to read also raised this question. She mistyped a link in an e-mail that went out to 800 people, and I was the only one who e-mailed back to complain! Well...some of those 800 people, who weren't too busy to take time to test alternatives, have to have figured out the correct address for themselves; it was my first guess. But sometimes we frazzled bill readers wonder how many people are even reading what we write.

I don't ask myself "When will I have time to turn off the computer again?" I know. I don't have Internet service at home. I have to commute fifteen miles to get enough online time to do this, at great inconvenience to everyone.

Plus the proprietor of the Nickelsville computer center is a queen bee type and doesn't liiike me; after posting that I was going to do this blog today, in spite of the strep infection I think I caught from the kitten who was ill in December, I walked in and this woman thrust under my face a document saying something like "Please do not use the computer center if you feel sick. If you appear to be sick you will be asked to leave. If you do not leave," as it might be because you know you're too sick to start walking fifteen miles and by the way it's raining today, "you may be removed by law enforcement." Wow. This web site is and has been such a humble, gentle, polite little protest, addressed to legislators I like and respect and support; who'd've thought it could get me into jail?

Anyway it's strep, Gentle Readers. If you annoy me I may breathe on you'cos strep stinks, but normal healthy adults are resistant to strep infections; I'd probably have to give you a wet kiss to deliver enough bacteria for you to notice. Unless you have an immune system disorder.

But apart from explaining that I may be unable to deliver the web site I promised you after all, and my sponsors, bless'em, may not even notice, this post does have a serious point.

Karen Bracken's web site is the cyber-home of one of the first and best Tea Parties. Hundreds of people read it. Dozens contribute to it. It is, accordingly, a web site with both local and national scope, and a source of masses of the links some of you may have discovered here...I don't even know which ones, because KB's links tend to go viral and be forwarded by other people, and sometimes it's the extent of interest out there that prompts me to write up or investigate something. Let's just say that this site owes our whole "Agenda 21" thread to Karen Bracken, whose web site,, can also be accessed by typing or pasting in

I've written up so many of the links Karen Bracken has shared that I've actually caught myself wondering, "Who is Karen Bracken? Is 'she' actually a family or committee? If she's one real person, does she have a family, or sleep, or eat?"

So today one of her e-mails contained a bit of venting. Apparently she is one real person, she does have a family, and she's starting to feel that the amount of time she's been spending online is not being appreciated by readers...just like the rest of us do...I didn't even tell her, nor will I tell youall, which other contributors' e-mails are starting to contain the giant bold typefonts, all caps, multiple exclamation points, and "GET UP AND DO SOMETHING!"'s that indicate that an online activist's eyes and nerves are feeling strained. But it's going around. At least I hope it's only lack of reader responses, and not yet another strain of flu.

So. (End of this post is finally within sight.) Contributors, please remember that a lot of good people, fiscal conservatives, patriots, Messianic Jews and Whole Bible Christians, Sane Democrats, Real Republicans, Grown-Up Civil Libertarians and True Greens, just don't like or trust or feel comfortable in cyberspace. About Congressmen we don't have to worry; they get an endless supply of bright-eyed students to monitor the automatic tally of e-mails and responses through Popvox, and only have to read our e-mails if said students think our words will cheer them up. Some other people with whom you may want to share what you get from this web site, or from Agenda 21 Today, or Freedomworks or or Political Outcast or Downsize DC or ACLU or wherever, may get the message more effectively if you can send it to them in the form of a postcard.

And here is where you can reward Karen Bracken for all her hard work by ordering one of two patriotic American postcards:

And if you want to add your name or your older relative's name to the short list of supporters who will get the printed Yearbook, which I warn you will be hand-printed and hand-bound and will therefore cost much more than a commercially printed book of its size, please use the yellow cards to send said names to P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. They're also good for ordering Fair Trade Books.

And if anybody out there feels moved to send me a copy of Behind the Green Mask, which I will read intensively, making a samizdat copy to ensure that I catch all the footnotes, and discuss--at length, if you like--after the Yearbook and Living with Sickle Cell Disease projects, please order it from too, and send it to the same address.

On behalf of Karen Bracken's family, thank you.