Category Archives: Seeking advice

I want McAfee to go away. That’s all I want…


So I got a new computer a couple of weeks ago, and things are going along pretty nicely with it.

Dude, I got a Dell.

And I got the Dell at Best Buy, and I went hook, line and sinker for the full Geek Squad coverage, which has already come in handy a couple of times as I worked to get this or that piece of software up and running. I call them, they take over my computer remotely, and they fix it.

And it comes with Webroot. So I don’t need McAfee. But McAfee keeps popping up on my screen trying to get me to subscribe.

So I decide to uninstall it. Turns out there are three separate McAfee applications. And whenever I go to uninstall one, I get a dialogue box that says it’s still scanning stuff and protecting me, and I think, hey, if get a backstop safeguard for free, why delete it? Then I decide to delete anyway, and I get another dialogue box saying I already have an active subscription.

Say what? I’m pretty sure my last three laptops have been protected by Webroot. So… what is McAfee protecting — that 12-year-old desktop that I used to keep plugged in in a spare bedroom but which my wife has put away, turning that table into a sewing machine station?

So… should I pull the trigger and get rid of it? And if I’m paying for it, how do I get that to stop? Or is the “active subscription” just the free coverage they give you at first with a new computer, as the red dialogue box above indicates?

I don’t know. I just want them to leave me alone…


The Pink Screen of Death! AIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!


As a Windows veteran of nearly three decades, I’ve seen some terrible sights, things that would chill the blood of a lesser man. The terrible Blue Screen of Death is an old friend, for instance. That was pretty much the favorite mode of my last laptop.

But I had never before seen what is pictured above. That’s what greeted me when I opened my laptop this morning.

Apparently, it’s a thing. A bad thing.

I don’t know what caused it, but I strongly suspect a Firefox update. Ever since I recovered from the Pink Screen, I’ve been unable to use Firefox at all. A home screen of sorts comes up — a different one from what I’ve seen in the past, which is what tells me there must have been an update — but not the home screens I had programmed into the settings.

And anyway, I can’t call up ANY websites on the browser. But if I try the very same URL on Chrome, it works fine.

Oh, and turning it off and back on again didn’t fix the Mozilla problem. I guess my next step is uninstalling and reinstalling.

Any thoughts, guidance, advice…?


Would Jesus have cursed my fig tree? And can I save it?


Look at that ridiculous, tiny thing near the center of the photo: Call that a fig?

It’s always been one of the passages in the Bible that I find problematic, but at the same time, it’s also one that has an authentic air that says, “This really happened.”

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. 13 Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. 14 And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.

I like that “And his disciples heard it” touch. The writer of the Gospel is saying, You may not believe he laid a curse on a tree, but we were there, and we HEARD it, man!

This was just before Jesus drove the money changers out of the Temple, which is an interesting juxtaposition: The fig tree thing suggests Jesus could get pretty peevish when hungry, the second is the only account we have of him getting violently angry.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about that passage lately as I look at my own fig tree, which I planted maybe a decade ago, and which has yet to produce what I would consider to be a normal crop of figs. I think last year was the best we’ve done, and I got to eat maybe five or six figs, total.

I also think about the parable:

He spoke also of this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down….

Even by that more patient standard, this tree is on thin ice.

We pruned it during the cold weather. Then, I did indeed “dung it” with some Black Kow manure. I worried that maybe we’d pruned it too much, because it was slow to produce new greenery. But eventually it broke out with a decent profusion of leaves — but no figs. Finally, a couple of things that look like they might aspire to become figs some day have emerged — but they’re kind of weird and misshapen.

When I walk around my own neighborhood and across the USC campus, I see loads of green figs popping out all over the place.

Maybe it’s the variety. (My tree isn’t the usual Brown Turkey fig. When it produces fruit, it’s bigger and it stays green even when ripe. I want to say it’s some sort of Greek variety. I bought it at the State Farmers Market.)

Maybe it’s because we had no rain for so long, up to the last couple of days.

I don’t know. Any suggestions?

This is on a tree that I regularly pass on walk across the USC campus.

This is on a tree that I regularly pass on walks across the USC campus. I see at least eight figs in this shot.

I don’t know what to do to please you, Google…

They’re back at it.

Again, I’m getting these notifications from Google Adsense:

Dear Publisher,

This Google Publisher Policy Report gives you an overview of recent activity related to violations found on specific pages of your websites. As enforcement statuses may change over time, please refer to the “Page-level enforcements” section of the AdSense Policy Center for the current list of active violations.

Please note this report doesn’t cover violations that may happen on an overall site or account level. You may be notified by a separate email if site or account level violations are found. Ads will continue to serve where no policy violations have been found, either at the page- or site-level.

In the last 24 hours:

  • New violations were detected. As a result, ad serving has been restricted or disabled on pages where these violations of the AdSense Program Policies were found. To resolve the issues, you can either remove the violating content and request a review, or remove the ad code from the violating pages.

Further details on enforcements can be found in the AdSense Help Center. To learn more about our program policies, please view the AdSense Program Policies.

Kind regards,
Google Publisher Policy

Of course, none of those links will take you to a page that says, here’s the problem with have with this post. No, each time I get one I have to remember the roundabout, counterintuitive way I had figured out earlier.

After I do (remember it), I find myself once more at a notification that tells me they have a problem with this post — again — which of course is ridiculous. Here’s what they say about it:



Dangerous or derogatory content


Restricted ad serving help_outline

Enforcement date

Mar 11, 2018

Past review outcome

Policy non-compliant (Mar 6, 2018)

How to resolve this

Click on the violation name to learn more about it. You have two resolution options:

  • Fix the violations and request a review 
    After you make adjustments to your page so that it’s compliant with AdSense policies, you can request a review.
  • Remove the AdSense ad code from the page 
    Pages without any AdSense ad code will be automatically removed from the Policy center within 7-10 days. No other action on your part is needed.

If you think that these policy violations do not apply to this page, you can also request a review. Reviews typically take 1 week but sometimes can take longer.

So again, I request a review from Google. The next day, they say my appeal has been denied, and absurdly, my post continues to be “dangerous or derogatory.” Which, of course, it is not. It is a post about something that someone, somewhere, thought was derogatory, and my post patiently explains why anyone who thinks that is mistaken. Which is the kind of thing you talk about on an opinion blog.

So I click on the “Request Review” again, my theory being that if I keep asking, an actual human will review the situation and realize that yes, this is the kind of thing one discusses on an opinion blog, and therefore there is nothing inappropriate about it.

But I get another robo-answer that I remain in violation.Google-favicon-2015

So the status of that post will continue to be “Restricted ad serving.”

All right, fine. Who cares if Adsense ads don’t show up on that one post from more than seven years ago? I’m willing to leave it at that.

But Google isn’t. They keep sending me the notifications.

My next step — my only ethical option I can see — will be to see if I can “Remove the AdSense ad code from the page” without blowing up my blog or something. Something I do not know how to do. But I’ll try. And then see if they’ll leave me alone.

But if I can’t figure that out, what then? The notifications, of course, come from a “noreply” email address. So I can’t have a conversation with a person. Of course…

Is it safe to use my prescription specs with my eclipse glasses?

error 2

Stupid Internet! Nobody had this problem the last time we had a total solar eclipse.

We have been drowning in information, much of it useless, about today’s celestial event. We’ve had no end of warnings, all of which should be unnecessary, since anyone who’s spent five minutes on this planet should know not to stare at the sun. But we are a curious species, both in the sense of “strange” and “interested in novelties,” so we need the warnings.

And a lot of those warnings involve not looking at the phenomenon through lenses. You know, “Don’t look at the eclipse through a telescope,” etc.

So… what about my glasses? Can I look through them, with my special eclipse glasses over or under them?

Reasonable inference tells me that it’s safe. After all, there have been SO many warnings about unsafe practices, and anyone with any sense knows that people who need their prescription spectacles to see anything won’t be able to see the eclipse without them. So, you know, telling those millions of people it’s unsafe to do so, if it is, would be one of your very first important safety tips to share.

Still, reasonable surmise doesn’t seem enough where my eyesight is concerned. So I’d like a definite affirmative from an authoritative source: Yes, it’s OK to use your eclipse glasses with your regular glasses.

And surely someone out there has answered that question.

The trouble is, it’s a tricky question to ask clearly on a search engine. You end up repeating “glasses” in a confusing way. I tried being technical and saying, “Is it safe to wear prescription eyeglasses with eclipse glasses?”

But however I search, I only find one web page that seems to answer the question directly. (The second result Google offers in response to that query says, “No, You Can’t Use 3D Movie Glasses As Eclipse Glasses – Here’s Why,” a response so idiotic that it makes me want to slap somebody upside the head.)

But there is that one page, the first result, with the headline “Can I wear eclipse glasses over my regular eyeglasses …

Yes! Just what I need!

But every time I try to call it up, I get the above error message.

So… can anyone help me out her in the couple of hours we have left? Preferably, by giving me a link to an authoritative source?

If so, it will be appreciated…

Can anyone tell what Google’s problem with me is?


I got this email four days ago, but didn’t see it until today. The headline was, “Google AdSense: Action required to comply with AdSense program policies.”

OK, so I opened it, intending to deal with whatever the problem might be.

Trouble is, based on this, I have no idea what the problem is:


This is a warning message to alert you that there is action required to bring your AdSense account into compliance with our AdSense program policies. We’ve provided additional details below, along with the actions to be taken on your part.

Affected website:

Example page where violation occurred:

Action required: Please make changes immediately to your site to follow AdSense program policies.

Current account status: Active

Violation explanation

As stated in our program policies, sites displaying Google ads should provide substantial and useful information to the user. Users should be able to easily navigate through the site to find what products, goods, or services are promised. Examples of misguided navigation include, but are not limited to:

  • False claims of downloadable or streaming content
  • Linking to content that does not exist
  • Redirecting users to irrelevant and/or misleading webpages
  • Text on a page unrelated to the topic and/or business model of the website.

For more information, please review Google’s Webmaster quality guidelines and the AdSense program policies.

How to resolve:

  • If you received a notification in regard to page content, we request that you immediately remove Google ads from the violating pages. If you are unable to, or unsure of how to remove the ads from these pages, or would like to continue monetizing the page with Google ads, please modify or remove the violating content to meet our AdSense policies.
  • If you received a notification in regards to the way ads are implemented on your site, please make the necessary changes to your implementation.

You do not need to contact us if you make changes. Please be aware that if additional violations are accrued, ad serving may be disabled to the website listed above. You should immediately take time to review your pages with Google ads to ensure that they comply with our policies.

Additionally, please be aware that the URL above is just an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of this website or other sites that you own. To reduce the likelihood of future warnings from us, we suggest that you review all your sites for compliance. Here are some useful resources you might be interested in.

For more information regarding our policy warning notifications, visit our Help Center.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation.


The Google AdSense Team

Of course, of course, of COURSE it’s from a “noreply” address, so I can’t ask questions.

And of course, when you click on the Help Center link, you get more words, and links to other words, none of which start out, “Our problem with your post is…”

They did allow me to vent a bit. When I clicked the “no” button at the bottom asking whether the article was helpful, I got a box to type in, under the invitation, “How can we improve it?” I wrote:

You can give me someone to talk to. The warning I received was completely unintelligible. I cannot begin to intuit what the problem is. If you have a problem with something on my blog, come out and tell me exactly what the problem is. From what you sent, I don’t have a clue….

But maybe I’m being obtuse. Can y’all see what it is, and tell me how to fix it?

The only thing I see on that post that might conceivably be troubling would be a copyright issue. But I’m pretty sure that my use of the photo from “Breaking Bad” and the Jimmy Carter one from Playboy, I’m in Fair Use territory. And I don’t think that’s what they’re talking about.

So what do you think it is?

What should I say to Rotary in the morning?

Back before I realized it was on the morning after a critical World Series game, I agreed to speak to the Rotary Club that meets at the Palmetto Club at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. I’ve been asked to speak on “the upcoming election and the state of national/local politics.”8662336773_7910f6010a_b

As is my wont, I intend to reserve most of my time for questions (that ensures that I address things my audience is interested in, and besides, I enjoy it more), but I do need to come up with some opening remarks — and it’s not a good idea to try to whip them together during the game tonight.

So I’m thinking about it now.

The problem, of course, isn’t a lack of things to talk about, but choosing from an overabundance.

What do y’all think I should say, to start things off?

Hey, iTunes! Where are all of MY tunes?!?!?

iTunes panic

OK, I’m trying to suppress the panic here…

I was already pretty ticked off because the only tunes that showed up on my Apple TV were ones that I had “purchased” (either for money or by redeeming a free song from Starbucks or something) from iTunes.

Whereas, most of the music that was in iTunes on my PC laptop and my iPhone and my iPad were songs I owned before iTunes was invented — things I bought long, long ago, either on CD or vinyl (I have a turntable at home that hooks up to a computer and converts vinyl to MP3s). Stuff I had every right to. I liked that this music was in iTunes because it meant it wasn’t subject to the ravages of time and rough use as they affect vinyl and CDs — and they were available to me on multiple platforms, wherever I went.

The number of songs I had “purchased” from iTunes were insignificant. I mean, unless someone has given me an iTunes gift card, why would I spend money on something I could hear on Pandora or Spotify for free? (Especially, especially, especially if I had already paid for it once, twice or three times in my lifetime?)

Anyway, this state of affairs got worse when I got a new iPhone a month or so ago. Everything transferred over from my old iPhone just fine. But recently I noticed that all of MY music (the music I owned before iTunes, from vinyl and CD) was missing.

So today, when I connected the iPhone to my PC in order to transfer some photos, and iTunes automatically launched, I thought, “I’ll try to fix this.”

I did this by clicking on “Brad’s iPhone” in iTunes, scrolling down to options, and clicking off the button that said “Sync only checked songs and videos.” And then I clicked “Apply.”

I got a dialogue box that I can’t seem to get back again now, but I think it said something like “Do you want to erase the iTunes profile on your phone and replace it with the one on your computer?” I said “yes,” because that’s what I wanted to do. And I ran it.

And now, I still don’t have any of MY tunes on iTunes, and a bunch of them (but strangely, not all) have disappeared from my laptop as well! For instance, all of the Beatles albums — just gone!

They’re all still on my iPad. So now I’m scared to connect the iPad to the PC, lest I lose them. (And yeah, I suppose I still have copies of these things somewhere, in some form, but getting them onto iTunes represented a lot of time and effort.)

Any minute now, I’ll start freaking out.

Anyone have any advice?

Anyone know what’s happening to these pictures?

The way the azaleas really looked.

The way the azaleas really looked.

I raised this question on a previous thread, but I decided to post it separately with actual images of the problem…

I had originally intended to run my little post about the azalea explosion two days ago, when I shot it. But when I went to do so, I saw that my free trial of PhotoShop Elements had run out. (Long story. I got a new laptop several months ago, and it’s wonderful in every way except that I’ve been unable to transfer the very old copy of Photoshop I had on my old laptop to the new one. And the disk is long gone. So until recently, I kept using the old one for blogging, because I had to have something to work pictures with.)

I didn’t want to deal with that right then, so I set the matter aside.

Then yesterday, I went ahead and paid the 100 bucks (technically, $99.99) to buy the PhotoShop Elements (having determined that while it was not full PhotoShop, it did the things I needed — the main thing being, allowing me to quickly reduce the size of picture files).

So, having emailed the azaleas picture to myself from my iPhone, I called it up in my newly purchased application.

And the color was all screwed up. That rich, deep color you see above (quite accurate) was totally washed out to a sort of light lavender or something. I fiddled with the color settings, and lightness and darkness and contrast, and couldn’t make it look anything like reality. Then, I started flipping through other pictures in that folder, and all were sort of weirdly off. Mostly, they were too dark, or had too much contrast. But on some the colors were off, just not this dramatically.

Then I realized that when I called up the azalea file in Windows Live Photo Gallery, the colors were similarly distorted. Which made me think it was something in the display settings of my laptop. And I remembered that I had noticed a similar phenomenon a few days ago when I had transferred photos from my phone, but had been busy and forgot about it.

But… here’s where it gets very weird… when I viewed the emailed azaleas picture within gmail, it looked fine. On the same laptop.

Then… I realized that those distorted-looking pictures I was calling up in the folder where I put photos for the blog on my laptop — pictures I had recently posted — looked fine on the blog itself.

So, I decided to completely ignore the fact that the azaleas picture looked like a color negative or something, and just resize the picture and post it, as an experiment.

And I did. And it looked fine on the blog. It had magically turned back to normal.

So, it looked fine when I sent it to myself, including on the laptop. But if I called it up in the Windows photo viewer, or in PhotoShop, the exposure was distorted to a bizarre degree. But if I didn’t do anything to it and went ahead and put it on the blog, it was back to normal.

Anybody know what in the world is going on? Because I’ve just wasted a lot of money on PhotoShop if I can’t realistically see color and contrast and make adjustments. A hundred bucks is a lot to blow on just being able to take an image down from 36 inches to 16…

The way they looked in PhotoShop Elements.

The way they looked in PhotoShop Elements.

Working on a new look; what do you think?


Yesterday, Brian Murrell and I were meeting with a potential ADCO client who happened to be situated right next door to Brian’s optometrist. Since my trademark hornrims got smashed at the St. Paddy’s Day bash, and no one — including me — is satisfied with my backups, he insisted I go in and try on some frames and submit to having photos taken, so I could take them home and see what Mamanem think.

I had a definite preference, and the homefront was in accord. Just thought I’d see what y’all think. By the way, they ordered some more frames that I liked, at least in the book, better than any of these.

My smashed glasses, repaired with tape.

My smashed glasses, repaired with tape.

In the end, aesthetics will take a back seat to the critical issue of how they feel on my nose. My old ones, to which I have clung for something going on decades, likewise clung to me with a comfortable insistence that I have found in no other frames over the years. It’s like they were molded onto my face. That’s what I’ll be going for.

That, and being able to see clearly at a distance, up close and in the midrange. Which is probably going to mean the expense of progressive lenses. We’ll see. At least, we hope we will.

Many years ago, even before I had ever met my late, lamented shattered specs, an optometrist told me I was one of those hypercritical people, and as a result was unsatisfied with 20/20 — I had to be corrected to 20/15 or 20/10 before I pronounced it good. I don’t know if I’m still like that, but probably. It makes this process harder than it has to be, which is another reason why I resist getting new ones…

Below are the ones I’ve been wearing the last couple of weeks. They give me headaches. Or something does. Might just be the stuff in the air this time of year…


Has anyone read “Men Against The Sea”?

And if so, how was it?

I just finished reading Mutiny on the Bounty, for the first time — I think. I initially had this vague idea that I had read it as a child. Yet most of it seemed fresh to me. Of course, I knew at ever step of the way what was to happen next. Who doesn’t know the general outline of the story? Who hasn’t seen at least one of the Hollywood versions? But the actual words seemed fresh as I read them, and certain things about it — such as the fact that, bizarrely, the English sailors refer to the people of Tahiti as “Indians” throughout — seemed totally unfamiliar.

In any case, I’m certain I’ve never read either of the sequels, Men Against the Sea or Pitcairn Island. That is to say, I’ve never read the “chapter book” versions. I have a clear memory of reading the Classics Illustrated version of Men Against the Sea. What sticks out in my mind is the desperate men in the open boat managing to kill a seagull, and Captain Bligh rigidly serving out portions of its blood to the neediest men on board. (Or do I remember Charles Laughton doing that in the 1935 film?)

Anyway, now that I’ve finished the first book, I’m wondering whether it’s worth my while to read the second. I know what happened — Bligh, a tyrant of a captain but an extraordinary seaman, manages to get himself and 17 others safely to Timor, 3,500 miles away, in an open boat with practically no provisions. It stands as one of the most extraordinary feats of seafaring history.

But I’ve got to think it’s not much fun to read. It’s a tale of horrific suffering, day after day. And the main protagonist is a guy who’s hard to like. I mean, Mutiny on the Bounty had gorgeous topless Tahitian girls. (No pictures, but still…) What’s this got to recommend it?

Perhaps the fact that it’s told mainly through the experience of Thomas Ledward, acting surgeon, helps you root for these guys a bit more than you otherwise might. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to read it in Bligh’s voice.

Anyway, has anyone out there read it? Did you like it? And if so, why?

Why haven’t we seen a word cloud of the whole blog yet?

“Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?”

Stewart Brand, 1966

Here’s something that has frustrated me, and maybe some of y’all can advise me.

Several times, I’ve wondered what a word cloud of my whole blog — since I started it in 2009 — would show in terms of what has obsessed me over these last three tumultuous years. Or, more practically, what verbal habits I need to dial back on.

But all I can ever get, when I enter my URL, is a cloud made of the last few posts, as you can see above. That’s pretty useless. I mean, I know what I’ve written about today. What I want to see is what sort of result I get over time. That might actually tell me something.

Anyone know how to make that happen?

Which blogs are your favorites (besides this one)?

Last night, before driving back from Charleston, I had a coffee for the road with Nancy Mace Jackson. As you may know, Nancy is partners with Will Folks on his blog — she handles the technical side; he does content.

While we talked about other things — as the first female cadet to graduate from The Citadel and as a communication professional, she’s very interested in the unfolding scandal at her alma mater — our talk quite naturally gravitated toward blogging.

Which reminded me…

Personally, I don’t spend as much time on other folks’ blogs as I probably should in order to stay current. So it was that I had trouble helping out the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism when it came to me seeking input recently:

We are currently gearing up for the 2012 campaign/primary and election season and will be tracking political blogs in the early primary states. We are in the process of identifying potential blogs to track, and are reaching out to some bloggers that we are already aware of in these states for additional suggestions and recommendations. Any assistance you could give us in this effort would be greatly appreciated.  We are interested in tracking liberal, conservative and non-partisan blogs.

Here are the blogs Pew’s PEJ was looking at already:

That list made me realize I needed to update my blogroll. It has some on it that haven’t posted in a while, while other active blogs are missing.

What have you been reading that isn’t on that list?

Also, while we’re on the subject…

I’ll be undertaking a redesign of this blog in the near future.  Help me out by pointing me to blogs you like, both in terms of how they look and (more importantly) functionality. Yes, I know many of you want to be able to edit your posts — which will most likely require registration, which I’ve stayed away from thus far.

But which blogs do you find easiest and most pleasurable to read? What are some bells and whistles I don’t have now that you’d like to see?

I’d appreciate the input.

OK, folks, I need some Health & Happiness stuff

This is going to be tough with Doug Ross on vacation — in a remote cabin out West, I hear — but I need some topical comic material ASAP.

I have to do Health & Happiness again on Monday at the Columbia Rotary Club. That consists of talking about news about club members — who’s in the hospital, who has a new baby, who was in the newspaper, etc. — and comedy. It has to be lowest-common-denominator, generic, clean, inoffensive comedy, too. Which is tough.

I generally try to go with something topical, because that’s what folks expect from me. Sometimes I’m inspired. Sometimes I’m not. So the floor is open to suggestions.

Y’all did well last time. Come through again.

Need some really good (clean) jokes, quick!

Uh-oh… one of my fellow Rotarians called needing me to do Health & Happiness Monday, and I’ve got NO MATERIAL!

To give you an idea what Health & Happiness is like (in case you’re not in Rotary), here are a couple I did in the past that were relatively successful:

And here’s one that was not successful at all.

But look — anything CLEAN, that appeals to a broad audience, would be helpful. Political and topical would be a bonus (since they tend to expect that from me). So far, all I’ve got is a short bit about Robert Ford, not fully formed in my mind yet.

So help me out. PLEASE…

The SC New Democrats’ survey

Phil Noble’s SC New Democrats are trying to figure out the future of their party (if it has one in SC), so they’ve sent out a survey to the faithful.

Somehow, I got a copy, too:

1,500 SC Democrats have had their say. Have you?


Since we emailed you on Friday, over 1,500 people have completed our “What’s Next” survey. That’s 1,500 SC voters ready and eager to change the game and get Democrats back on the road to victory.

We’re certainly thrilled with the response, but we still really want to hear from you.

It only takes about 5 minutes. Will you take the survey right now?

In less than a month, Nikki Haley will take the oath of office and become this state’s next governor, and for the first time in a long while, no Democrats will hold statewide office, which makes it all the more important that Democrats step up and project a clear vision for our state.

Help us build that vision. Join 1,500+ across the state and the survey now.

We’ll be taking a look at the results this weekend and will report back with the findings.

We can’t wait to hear from you,
South Carolina New Democrats

I went ahead and filled it out, knowing I’d probably skew the results. For instance, when it asked, “What do you think that Democrats in South Carolina do POORLY?” I answered, “Everything. Which is fine by me, because I don’t like parties. Actually, the Dems’ fecklessness sort of endears them to me. Nothing worse than a well-organized political party.”

And some questions, I just didn’t know how to answer. For instance, when the survey asks:

Which best describes your opinion of the Democratic Party in South Carolina?

… what am I supposed to say? I mean, I don’t WANT the party to do better. I want it, and the Republican Party, to go away. But I chose the second option as the closest to my opinion. I mean, if it really DID get “fundamental change,” it wouldn’t be what it is anymore, would it?

Anyway, y’all should help them out and take the survey. After all, some of you are actually Democrats…

A constructive suggestion

I got this feedback from Nancy:

Your links need to open in a new window, for the ones going to external sites, I say “grrr” every time I open one and its in the same window. 😉

You can tell WordPress to do this in that little window that pops up on the visual tab when you’re editing and inserting a link there, tell it to open in a new window, or on the html tab, insert target=”_blank” in the link code. So, it looks like 

Only for the links going to a site other than yours. 😉



OK, so I figured out how to make it open in a new window — although it will require remembering an extra step each time I do a link. Maybe I can figure a way to make it the default, but I don’t see how yet.

Actually, what I would prefer would be for it to open in a new tab, not a new window. A lot of people resent it when a new window suddenly pops into being. I’m one of them.

But so far, I don’t see that as an option.

Before I proceed further, any thoughts from anyone else on this issue?

Julie & Julia & me

Tonight, after we had done all the cooking we could do the night before, my wife and I went to see a movie. Actually, to be more accurate, my wife had done all the cooking at our house, except for a special-recipe cake I made for myself (no wheat, no dairy, no eggs), since I can’t eat the other desserts we’ll be having.

We went to the dollar-movie house to see “Julie & Julia.” Actually, it used to be the dollar-movie house. Now it’s $2.

Anyway, we went to see the movie, and it was cute and all that, but a bit frustrating for a blogger such as myself.

It’s about a woman who does a blog with a gimmick — she’s going to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s famous book in a year — and the blog becomes wildly popular, and she gets a book deal, and it’s made into, you guessed it, a movie.

And the thing is, that’s not going to happen to me, which made me a little sad. I don’t have a gimmick. And I don’t have an obsession that thousands of people will resonate to — at least, I’m not aware of one. I’m not even particularly interested in such things. I know the kinds of things that are engaging and commercial, and I’m not that into them.

The obsession that the blog of the woman in the movie was about was food. This is a very chick thing. Excuse me, ladies, but women get excited about food as though it were sex or something. Some men do, too, but I am definitely not one of those men. My diet is limited by my allergies, of course, and that’s part of it, but I’m just not a foodie at heart anyway. I will fully enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, but then I’ll take a nap and not think about it any more. I’ve tried waxing enthusiastic about Dixie Lee field peas and candy pumpkins, but I definitely could not imagine blogging exclusively about such a limited subject. (Foodies don’t think food is a limited subject, but there it is…)

Women are always starting wildly successful blogs, read by other women, about food and shopping and their kids and such, but I’m just not that kind of blogger. For that matter, I’m not into the kinds of things guys usually obsess about, either. Sports, for instance. Sports has the potential for a guy to be the kind of blog money-maker that food and shopping are for women. But I’m not, by American standards, into sports.

So what do I have? Well, I’m really, really into those Aubrey-Maturin novels, and I think it would really be cool to spend a year sailing the world in a square-rigged ship, living on dried peas and salt pork, attacking and sinking the king’s enemies, and blogging about it. But I don’t think it’s really feasible. The obstacles are pretty significant.

I’m really into my grandchildren. But cute pictures I take of them would probably wear thin with my readers.

Then, there’s the fact that I am an actual unemployed guy, the epitome of this economic situation. And the truth is, I have not really tapped into that subject. I don’t tell y’all most of what I’m thinking and experiencing because, well, it’s personal. If I went into perfectly frank detail about what this experience is like, it could be interesting. But it could also chase away every job prospect I have. And I can’t imagine it being commercial. Who pays for depressing? I sure wouldn’t. I mean, I’m living it, and I’ve frankly had enough of it.

So anyway — it would be great if I could come up with a gimmick that would make this blog pay off in a big way. Suggestions, anyone?

Folks, help me help out the new readers…

In light of the changes on the blog, I’ve got some first-timers trying to log in and leave comments, and having trouble. I’m hearing from them via e-mail.

Problem is, I don’t know how to figure out how to tell THEM how to log in, because when I try to do it for them, my browser insists upon recognizing me, and I don’t find any way to log in as someone else — or indeed, to create a new log-in. In other words, I can’t see what they’re seeing. (And yeah, I feel really stupid; good thing for me I’ve just banned insults and catcalls, huh?)

Since some of y’all have done this more recently than I have, would you mind posting instructions. Of course, with the new rules, they won’t post until I approve them.

Complicated, ain’t it?

Are you having trouble with my blog? I certainly am.

This morning I went to check what comments there might be on yesterday’s posts, and I couldn’t call them up. Thought it was a Blackberry problem, but can’t get them on the laptop, either.

Right now, I’m just hoping it goes away soon. If it doesn’t, I’ll start the process of figuring out how to get support on WordPress.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience, if you’re having the same problem.

If any of you have a solution to the problem, please e-mail me at