Archive for December, 2012


Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Yes, folks, it was ten years ago tonight that I decided that there might be something to this whole blogging think, and that it would be a hoot to try it.

Since I’ve explained it all in detail on previous blogiversaries, here’s an excerpt from my 2005 post on how it all started:

So this is it: It was three years ago that I first set up my Blogger account and wrote a couple of paragraphs.

Then I packed some wet towels into a laundry basket, and drove to the local laundrymat.

What, that’s not what you did after your first blog post?

Seriously, though: Our clothes dryer had stopped drying a couple of days earlier and I was in the process of trying to figure out which parts were defective and replace them; in the meantime, the show must go on, and by “the show”, I mean “my wife’s beauty shop”, and by “go on, I mean “dirty up a lot of towels”, which, it follows logically, have to be washed, and — here’s the crucial point for purposes of this post — dried.

Thus, after I did a quick “Hi-how-are-ya-I’m-new-at-this-blogging-thing”, I did my husbandly duty (no, not that one) and lugged a basket of laundry to the nearest dryers, much as men have done since the time of the caveman.

But don’t worry, my new blogging fever was still burning hot, and I took a legal pad with me, and in spite of almost debilitating carpal tunnel syndrome, I wrote an 800-word blog post, which I typed up the next day and posted.

That’s right: I composed my second blog post on paper — again, just as men have done since the time of the caveman.

Seriously, though: There was something very artsy, very Hemingway, scratching out a post with a brace on my wrist, and on that rickety table, and with the washers and dryers rumbling all around me. I think that intense creative immersion gave me a great jump-start to maintaining a blog; after all, work is easier when the vision is there …

So anyway, here I still am, three whole years after that initial set of primal experiences.

Who would have thought …

And here’s another observation I wrote at the halfway point, five years ago, which sums up the entire thing pretty neatly, plus gives some perfect examples of how blogging digresses into miscellaneous topics:

Today is my Five-Year Blogiversary! Yes, it was on this day in 2002 that I figured I had nothing better to do with my life, so I might as well waste it nattering away about nothing to people who don’t care.

And so far, so good.

Which is to say, I can’t believe I’m still at it.

But since I am, let’s get down to a big old pile of that nattering away about random personal things, just like we used to blog when it was still old-school:

Sure, this blog (and domain) only goes back to April 2005, but my first three years — my Blogging Glory Days! (BGD) — were on Blogger, with mutiple posts every day. Unfortunately, Blogger/Blogspot somehow ate that old blog, but I was able to save all three years, and I’m making it available in a zipped-file format. Just right-click here then click Save-As. A lot of the layout doesn’t work like it should, since you won’t be accessing it on the same server on which the links were written, but it’s still all there.

Ah, those were the days, when not every fourth-grader and their pet lemur had a blog, when blogging was new and exciting, and when everybody, bloggers and civilians too, spent several hours a day checking out other people’s blogs.

Yes, it was a veritable Golden Age of lost productivity.

And I made lots of blogging friends then, many of whom are still around and still checking in here occasionally: Yay Kim, Pamibe, Gigglechick, RennyBA, The Presurfer … but back then I had several dozen blogfriends, all of whom checked out my blog (and I theirs) daily. Everybody was always frantically searching for fresh content to post, and that led to more and more blogs and sites to have to monitor, and more friends, most of whom don’t stop by here any more, just like I don’t stop by there.

But blogging has cooled a lot since that heyday, and most of us are just casually posting now. I guess it’s the nature of red-hot trends to burn brightly until they finally burn out.

So why am I still doing this? Here’s why: It’s a map of my 100 latest visitors, according to SiteMeter:

Pretty cool, huh? Look at that: Two in the Russian Federation! Turkey! Hong Kong! The Philippines! A veritable squadron of visitors from Germany!

People in Egypt are reading about me cooking a big pot of beans for the first time in two years!

Somebody in Taiwan knows about Bristol tearing up my wife’s barley-hull pillow!

My accounts of my pointless goings-on are boring somebody in Italy! And the Czech Republic! Brasil! Israel! Thailand!

There’s somebody checking me out in The Netherlands! (That’s The Presurfer, of course, which doesn’t make it any less amazing.)

Of course, the bulk of my readers are right here in the good old You Ess of Ay: Several wise-guy types in New Jersey and Jamaica, New York, have checked in today, as well as a half dozen or so people in Florida.

And I can’t figure out who is out there in Gouldbusk, Texas, apparently getting here from typing in the URL, and not from a link or search engine. The town is close to where my old college friend Terry lives now, and I think it’s also not far from where The Spook currently resides. (It might also be close to where Mollie is …)

And for that matter: If you’re the person out there in Louth, Ireland, who visits here fairly regularly without hitting a link somehow — leave a comment and let me know how you got here, how you found out about me. If you’re shy, just send me an email at checkerspeech[at]

And for that matter, whoever is out there reading this, leave a comments!

This post wouldn’t be complete without some boring nonsense about my personal life, so here goes:

Today I raked about half the leaves in our back yard; I quit there because I had completely filled up our entire trash tote, as well as a 30-gallon paper leaf bag. Plus, if I overdo the squatting and lifting, I can really overdo those thigh muscles.

We finally got around to watching Casino Royale tonight. Daniel Craig takes some getting used to — he looks like some scruffy version of Kevin Costner that a cat dug up in the back yard — but I like the new Bond character better than all the old ones. This one has to actually work for his pay, and he gets pretty roughed up. This version of Bond is much grittier and down to earth; it just might work out pretty well.

We also watched lots of movies over the Christmas weekend: Die Hard 4 (eh — same old stuff), The Bourne Ultimatum (superhuman guy is three steps ahead of the entire U.S. intelligence community, with lots of formulaic foot- and car-chases in stock urban and exotic locales; this is the epitome of a color-by-numbers movie) , Transformers and Superbad. Those last two were okay, but nothing special.

Oh, and we also watched Ratatouille, which is excellent and hilarious, and which is serious about being about food. We definitely recommend it.

Okay, that’s all for now. Thanks for checking in on my Blogiversary, and please keep checking back.

Sixty Years Ago, Media History Was Made …

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I’m often asked why I named my “band” (that is, my musical project consisting of just myself) The Checkers Speech. First of all, everything else in the entire world is taken. But mostly, it’s because I’m a bit of a Nixon hobbyist — he was the President that came along just as I was gaining my political awareness — and because what I’m doing with my music is, politics aside, the same thing that Nixon was doing with this famous speech.

In 1952, young Senator Nixon had been chosen by General Eisenhower to be his running mate, but the opposition was were accusing him of improper financial dealings, and Ike and the GOP bigwigs were having second thoughts about his place on the ticket. Nixon took a look around and noticed this fresh new medium of television, realized that he could use it to take his message directly to the public, persuading them to convince the political powers that he be kept on the Republican ticket.

Not only did it work, but the speech, which takes its name from the cocker spaniel puppy mentioned toward the end, quite possibly won the election for the GOP.

When it came time to choose a band name, I realized that I’m doing conceptually the same thing: Using cutting edge technology (digital music creation and distribution) to end-run the powers that be (the music industry) and take my message (music) directly to the people.

It’s still an odd band name, but like I said, I can’t be picky.

Anyway, for more information on this historical moment, check out What was the “Checkers Speech” and why is it so important?