This is just a test
The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.
This is just a test
I had intended on doing posts here, but when a friend asks to help fill in at his much-larger blog while he attended to the affairs of his late sister-in-law, I help.
Ed will be back at full steam at Hot Air on Monday, so I’ll be back here trying to clear out the dust.
I’ve known Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi for several years. One can always depend on him for great insight, both on his blog and on his Saturday radio show, and fedoras and cannoli at the conferences he attends. As reserved as I am, that’s how outgoing he is. He taught me that one of the best ways to get the pulse of a particular city is to talk to the cabbies.
He’s been hustling to make a living out of blogging and his radio show the last couple years, and he’s been moderately successful so far. As his next step, he offered 7 people, including me, a unique opportunity to post a weekly piece over at his blog, called The Magnificent Seven after the movie. I get to clean up the week in the role of Harry on Sauturday afternoons, with a repost here late Tuesdays. Sort of fits – like Harry, I left the scene for a while before coming back.
The rest of the crew:
- Marathon Pundit on Sundays
- Linda Szugyi of No One of any Import on Mondays
- Juliette Akinyi Ochieng, aka Baldilocks on Tuesdays
- Fausta Wertz on Wednesdays
- AP Dillon of Lady Liberty 1885 on Thursdays
- Pastor George Kelly from Georgia on Fridays
Do make sure you hit DaTechGuy’s tip jar early and often, and read the rest of The Magnificent Seven, both at DaTechGuyBlog and at their sites. While you’re expanding your reading list, do pick up Juliette’s book.
First, we need a bit of music to set the mood…
No, the lack of posts here isn’t intentional. I’ve been putting in time over at Hot Air along with Bruce McQuain and Morgen Richmond to try to fill the shoes of Ed Morrissey while he’s on vacation. Even with all three of us, it’s not quite enough to fully duplicate just his daily writings – Jazz Shaw, who does weekends, has set up a couple of posts to start each weekday morning off. That doesn’t count The Ed Morrissey Show (Mondays-Thursdays at 3, Fridays at 2).
I never had a lot of comments here, but those who know me know I like to hang around in the comments sections of wherever I might find myself. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t promise Ed too many posts – I keep getting distracted from the next post by answering comments, and distractions don’t let one be regular with the multiple posts per day needed on a high-traffic blog. It’s also why, as much as I liked Twitter back in the day, I can’t go back (even if I hadn’t said I won’t be back) and still keep this place.
I’ve seen some people complain that people like Ed, Allah Pundit and Ace don’t have much of a presence in the comments. I knew on a theoretical level that it was because they have to keep providing fresh content, and I knew (and forgot) on the practical level the last time I helped fill in at HA that was the case, but, perhaps enhanced by the rust I still have, it’s really hit home this time.
No, this isn’t complaining; it’s just stream-of-consciousness (or at this time of night, semi-consciousness) thinking out loud so I have something posted here. I’ve seen several messages of “good job” from the rest of the HA commenting gang, and I just don’t have time to thank every one of them individually. I truly appreciate every one of them.
Don’t ask me how Ed Morrissey thinks this is a good idea, but he has handed me a spare key to Hot Air for the next 2 weeks while he and the First Mate enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Fortunately, I won’t be alone in trying to fill his shoes – he’s also lined up Bruce McQuain of Questions and Observations to pitch in. Bruce comes highly-recommended in my book.
I have another expansion coming soon, which I’ll let you know about on Sunday.
Wasn’t it just a month ago I dusted this place off?
Of course, you should have expected that. I’m just not feeling all that well with the onset of winter.
I’ll definitely have something to say about the September jobs numbers, which are due out tomorrow morning, and I absolutely need to say a word or two about the Republican primary in the 21st Assembly district happening tomorrow as well.
Ace articulated an internal struggle I’ve often had, especially in the leadup to my sabbatical from blogging and ultimately Twitter, and again as I finally caved to pressure from several people to return to the online world. The excerpt is longer than I really am comfortable giving, but I can’t honestly chop it up any more than I have and still do it justice:
I’ve mentioned before my growing weariness with what I’ll dub the Viral Mentality of the Internet.
The Viral Mentality is one in which people are over-excited to push certain memes and facts (or pseudofacts) in an effort to shape the national conversation. Blogging really indulged in this mentality — as I’ve said, my flaming skull is my version of Drudge’s siren, an effort to advertise certain memes and stories — but it’s the ADD format of Twitter that has really supercharged the mindset.
My real problem is that if you scratch the surface of most online writers, you’ll find that, without quite admitting it to themselves, they’ve largely defined success and failure in online writing according to the standards of success and failure in Advertising.
To be really good at “Pushing Memes.” To be really good at “getting stories to go viral.”
To be really good at branding.
I joked a while ago that we will all know this syndrome has reached its lethal phase when your grandmother tells you, “I wanted to mention your new Son on my FaceBook page, but I was afraid it would undermine the Branding image I was going for.”
We all know this is beneath us — well, most of us know this; some idiots might actually aspire to be Kings of Online Advertising — and yet nevertheless it has become the default model of online communication….
Now, online, both the right and the left have accepted the notion that activism is the highest ideal of online communication — if not the highest ideal to aspire to, at least one of the top two, competing successfully most of the time versus the other criterion, Speaking the Truth (or one’s murky vision of the truth, at least)….
Now, every political writer is, ultimately, an activist. People do not write about politics disinterestedly. Everyone has his own take on what the Social Good looks like, and his writing will always, always be informed by this.
Every writer, every blogger, every Tweeter, every commenter writing about politics has his own conception of The Good and will write in support of this.
There is no avoiding that.
There will always be Political Advertising encoded into any political essay.
It’s a question of the degree to which we permit ourselves to be captive to the lowest form of communication, Advertising.
It’s a question of whether we elevate the Advertising Imperative above the Truth-Telling Imperative, and by what margin.
As I always say, READ IT ALL. Whether you do it before or after continuing with the self-aggrandizing bullshit I’m about to spew, or you skip said bullshit, is your choice.
I know I have a bit of an ego. Otherwise, I would never have started NRE nor restarted writing. At the same time, my conscience won’t just let me write bullshit just for the sake of getting my name out there, or really to promote what I write. In fact, I was surprised to find that the folks at WisPolitics noticed immediately that I had returned (guess they never dropped the RSS feed) and saw fit to link to the first post back.
When I started this place 8 years ago, I never imagined it would have any real following outside of the people whose blogs I had been commenting on for the several months prior to writing long-form. I never expected to really be able to write long-form posts – writing has always been a major struggle for me, and self-promotion has never been a strong suit.
Then Fred Dooley and Mark Block, then the state director of Americans for Prosperity, invited me out to the first Defending the American Dream summit in 2007. Things sort of snowballed from there, with invites to more national events, meeting and befriending a lot of people I never would either have met nor expected to be in the same circles as, seeing some of the inner workings of politics that the average Joe never does.
On the flip side, I started letting The Brand creep into my musings. Whether it was the NRE Brand I never really intended to build or a larger Conservative/Libertarian Brand (the current iteration being the TEA Party Movement) is immaterial. I started feeling the strain between merely aping whatever came down the pike and taking a critical look at everything.
A long time ago, Jib gave out a key piece of advice – when it stops being fun, it’s time to stop. A year ago, it stopped being fun, with the Twitter part dragged out a few months after that. I pretty much did a hard reboot of the process that began, really, in early 2001 when I joined Free Republic.
In my restart, I can only hope to live up to what Ace closed with:
So when you see me balk at the idea of permanently subordinating my belief in what the truth is for the purpose of advancing the Brand, this is why.
It’s because I don’t want to be Matt Yglesias.
I may be ridiculous inadvertently, but I refuse to make myself ridiculous.
No matter how much some buffoonery and dishonesty might Help the Brand.
Matt Yglesias believes:
Humans are hierarchical primates by nature and have a kind of fascination with power and dignity.>
And by “dignity,” he means the trappings of power– that which “dignified” the nobleman.
That may be true — that may be true of man at his base animal level — but man is not limited to his base animal level. He can aspire to more.
He can aspire to more than being a monkey who begins repeating the squawks of the higher-ranking Alpha Monkey, in order to get the monkeys around him to begin squawking in the same fashion.
I’m back, sort of. I needed the last year off because I was just incredibly burnt out. In the meantime, I did a quick column for Right Wisconsin at its launch and a couple of guest posts at Ed Morrissey’s insistence over at Hot Air. You should be seeing more of me here and probably Right Wisconsin now that I’m starting to get my writing mojo back after the 2012 debacle.
Shoebox has been rather busy, and he’s barely been able to keep his Twitter account active. We’ll see if we can coax a few posts out of him too.
Revisions/extensions (19:27 10/1/2013) - There seems to be a bit of a problem with the commenting system. Working on it.
R&E part 2 (19:40 10/1/2013) - Combox should be fixed now.
Some of you may have noticed the decided lack of posts here the last few months. I wish I had a fantastic story to tell, but I pretty much had a lengthy case of Blogger Fatigue, which coincided with a very hot summer and a few other things to keep me silent on forums that allow more than 140 characters.
I’ve done some fishing since the last time I regularly posted here. My spring trip, out to Seseganaga Lake was, in a word, incredible. I got my first trophy northern (a nice 41″er) as part of a whole string of trophies in the group, and the walleyes were, at least in one of the spots the rest of the gang fishes in the fall, biting anything that was in the water.
The summer canoe trip wasn’t exactly as fruitful as the weather was just plain hot. The walleyes were deeper than what we were willing to fish in a canoe, but the smallmouths were biting quite well.
The vehicle situation became one just before the canoe trip when the dashboard on the Subaru went haywire. I got convinved to, instead of spending thousands to fix it and a few other problems I had been pretty much neglecting to actually fix, join the pick-em-up club with a 2012 Toyota Tacoma. I’m not quite rich enough to afford the 4WD version, so I’m hoping my mad, if rusty, RWD snow driving skills, combined with the now-mandatory vehicle stability/traction control, can get me through the winter.
That also delayed my plans to replace the desktop computer. It’s still quite servicable, but this past winter, I almost didn’t need the furnace, and that is not good during a hot and humid summer. That last bit put the early kibosh on probably a dozen long-form posts I half-finished before the heat got to me.
In any case, welcome back, and I’ll try to keep up with the posting.
I keep on forgetting these blogiversaries. First, I have to give a nod to Sister Toldjah and Ed Morrissey for hitting their 8th blogiversaries (note the plural) 2 days ago. They’re both good friends of mine; ST has guest-blogged here (and I over at her place), and Ed has for reasons beyond comprehension given me a key to Hot Air’s Green Room.
That leads me to my own blogiversary. 6 years ago today, I decided (more like was dragged by the unfortunately-absent GBFan) to open up shop after getting an invite onto the dearly-departed WisconsinSportsBar. I’ve gone through fits and spurts, moving from Blogger to a less-than-satisfactory stay at Yahoo Small Business while hosting WordPress to a long, though not profitable, tenure with BlueHost. Along the way, I’ve picked up way too many friends to count, a very-successful-in-the-real-world co-blogger in Shoebox (we could tell you how successful, but first we’d have to kill you), and even some notoriety.
Lately I haven’t been doing as much blogging as I really should. Oh well; like Jib, and decidedly unlike Robert Stacy McCain, I’ve never saw it as a means to a financial end (which reminds me; if you can rattle your favorite bloggers’ tip jars if they have them, they all would appreciate it).
Thank you, the readers, for being around for the ride, and let’s see if we can make it another 6.
There’s a couple of them:
I had a pair of tech “issues” pop up yesterday. First things first, Cover It Live puked up major lung butter halfway through the debate last night. There were a whole heap of comments I saw in the “Recent Comments” window as approved (auto-approved, actually), yet they weren’t in the liveblog window. The comments that made it there the last 15 minutes of the liveblog weren’t in the “Recent Comments” as they should be. Most of my late attempts to post something never showed up. Oh well, I get what I (don’t) pay for. Sorry about that.
The second issue is more of an annoyance. When WordPress launched the 3.2.x series, they put a browser check in the main admin page designed to “nudge” people away from outdated browsers, like the no-longer-supported Internet Explorer 6. Yesterday, when I decided to log in from the laptop, I got the “Your browser is out of date” warning, despite (actually, because of) the fact that it was the absolute latest version of IE, 9.0.2. It seems Microsoft decided to patch IE 9 without telling anybody. That includes, at least as of late yesterday, their IE web page team, as if one heads to the IE download page, it will give you (or at least try to give you) 9.0.1.
The bottom line is that, assuming you trust IE (which you should about as far as you can throw it), and you have 9.0.2, you can click the “ignore” link, and the “false warning” will go away.
Revisions/extensions (8:17 am 8/12/2011) - I just got an e-mail from the techies at CoverItLive (the time mentioned is Eastern Daylight):
Last night, Rackspace (the company we and a large number of other major online services around the world use for our back-end servers) experienced performance issues intermittently between 10:00 and 10:30pm. Unfortunately this issue caused delays to the CiL comment moderation feature. Rest assured the issue is actively being addressed with the folks at Rackspace.
In short, it was just one of those random dead-server issues that happened to occur when I was trying to use it.
I’ll ingore the fact that up until today, I hadn’t posted in over a week, and jump right into the mini-firestorm that John Hawkins kicked off by declaring the death of the right-o-sphere. Read that, and the return fires from Jimmie Bise (and his unintentional prequel, which should have had my name on the subject instead of his), William Jacobson (who shouldn’t have to worry about his place in the pecking order), Ann Althouse, John Lilyea, the Lonely Conservative, Dan Riehl, and Gregory Flap Cole, and then follow along the winding, rambling road.
John Hawkins, who is one of the rare professional independent bloggers who blogs for a living, interprets the stagflation of blog traffic as the slow death of the right side of the blogosphere. Honestly, what we’re seeing is quite similar to the consolidation the left side has seen. Indeed, William Jacobson noted that in his piece.
How much of that is consolidation at the top, how much is just more voices out there, and how much of that is social media sucking the life out of everybody is up for grabs. Way back in the day, Charlie Sykes established the Rule of Five, saying that one couldn’t really follow more than 5 blogs very closely. While he was way off on the 5 number, especially with the advent of RSS feeds, there is a very-real limit to how many blogs one can follow. Trust me on this one; I can’t keep up with all 400+ feeds I try to.
Jimmie Bise bemoans the lack of linkage, and Dan Riehl extends that to the Beltway mentality. Yes, there is definitely a part of that (side note; I really should bring back The Morning Scramble). The problem for a new blogger is all the major national players have pretty much solidified their list of sources, even though there is a dearth of good state- and local-level bloggers (a couple I recommend are Badger Blogger and Freedom Eden here in Wisconsin, Blue Collar Muse in Tennessee, and Thurber’s Thoughts out of Ohio). You just have to keep on sending good stuff up the food chain, and at times that includes what Jimmie calls “light stalking” (personal tip; don’t stalk the opposite sex).
The biggest bombshell was the quote of “(G)et big or go home,” in response to the question of what to do about stagnation. If you’re going to try to make money at this, small ball isn’t going to cut it, and unless you’re truly gifted, it’s probably too late to do it independently. Indeed, John notes that the consolidation has already happened at the top.
Flap, Ann Althouse, the Lonely Conservative and Dan Riehl all vehemently disagree. Flap sees social media as an extension of the blogosphere, and noted that the Tea Party Movement has its roots in it. Indeed, he sees social media much like the blogosphere back in the beginning.
As far as social media goes, it’s impossible to do more than a character-limited conversation on Twitter, even though one can punch way above one’s weight class every so often. As for Facebook/Google+, while it is theoretically possible to duplicate long-form posts that people will link to (see Sarah Palin), it’s very kludgy.
Ann notes that all sorts of people manage to make the time to do what is essentially full-time work for free. I’ll counter that if one isn’t counting on the hits, it doesn’t need to be full-time work. Hell, that explains the gaps in the posting schedule. Of course, over the years, I somehow managed to get a semi-loyal base of readers, and despite me being even more introverted and self-depreciating than Jimmie, a few of them happen to be movers and shakers.
So, while blogging is changing, it certainly isn’t dying.
Partly because Ed and Allah Pundit seem to have taken a bit of a liking to some of my posts (mostly the Social Security and Wisconsin Supreme Court ones), and partly because Ed’s going on vacation (though I suspect more the latter), I somehow got a key to Hot Air’s Green Room. It truly is humbling to be blogging in the same place as luminaries like Jazz Shaw, Jimmie Bise, Patrick Ishmael, McQ, MadisonConservative, Sarjex,…(the list goes on and on).
Don’t worry; I’ve still got a bunch of material that will be here (especially ones where the occassion…er, not-so-infrequent vulgarity might slip, which just wouldn’t work at HA). Some of my more-serious stuff will end up over there (and depending on content here, may well be exclusive to the Green Room).
This is the Emergency Blogging System. It has been activated just because it felt like self-activating.
That’s right, kids. You lost an hour this morning. If you still haven’t moved your clocks ahead an hour (and most-likely, if you have a WordPress-based blog, you haven’t), move them ahead one hour.
If you have a WordPress blog (whether it is on WordPress.com, a WordPress stand-alone, or WordPress MU – this includes Blogivists and Conservablogs), and you aren’t using UTC, you need to change it to Daylight Saving Time (Central UTC -5, Mountain UTC -6, Eastern UTC -4, Pacific UTC -7, and check your clock for other locales). To do so, go into your wp-admin panel, select “Settings”, and under the “General Settings” page that pops up, select the right time zone. Don’t forget to hit “save” when you’re done.
This concludes this activation of the Emergency Blogging System.
Those of you who follow the comments section of places like Boots and Sabers (my blog-godfather) and Wigderson Library & Pub may have run into TosaGuy. What he forgot to tell you (and me) is he has a pretty good blog of his own with a humble title – (Insert Witty Blog Title Here). Fortunately, I can rectify that oversight and tell you to start reading him.
The man who dragged me into the blogging world over 5 years ago through the dearly-departed WisconsinSportsBar has brought spottedhorse3 (yep, it’s now in its third edition) back from the grave.
He may not be the most-polished person, but anybody who can link Rorke’s Drift to the battle against the unions is THAT DAMN GOOD.
One of Chris’s features is Gun Porn Friday, and the re-inaugurational edition doesn’t disappoint. I can’t wait for him to bring that little baby to an open shoot.
If you’re seeing this post, you have found the new IP address this place is on. For a couple of reasons, I have shifted from a “shared IP” to a “dedicated IP” at BlueHost. It’s not quite a dedicated host, but I’m hoping things speed up slightly.
A friend of the blog, Justin Higgins, has made his return to blogging with No Muzzle Politics. How good is this prodigy? Back in his teens, he was being cited by Rush Limbaugh. In fact, his only fault is that he’s attending Ohio State (well, he is a native Ohioan).
Now, go and put his blog in your reader.
Revisions/extensions (1:55 pm 11/1/2010) - I wasn’t anticipating on going on TEMS today, but I will be on at 3 pm.
There’s a few places I will be tomorrow (and today):
There has been a slight lack of blogs from the southwest part of the Badger State on the roll. Fortunately, Tim Gray has rectified that with Use Your Gray Matter.
When one paraphrases the end of the Declaration of Independence as part of the blog’s tagline, one earns an automatic consideration to be added to the overstuffed roll. When one makes sense, like Ben Froland, I’ll add it gladly, even if it takes beating me over the head to remember to do so.
A while back, I blegged for some help with a new logo. A couple of people stepped up and delivered what I consider ass-kicking logos. Here’s where I need your help in helping me decide which one.
First up, a design from J. Gravelle from The Daily Scoff:
Next up, a design from Mr. Tastic from Neo-Con* Tastic:
What should be the new logo of NRE?
Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed
I can’t promise to abide by the vote if it’s either close or sparsely voted upon, but the best way to make sure I do so is to vote for your favorite and get your friends to do the same. I’ll leave this up until the wee hours of October 13th, so you have some time to get them in line.
One side note – sorry to disappoint those of you who wanted the fedora as my Twitter icon, but the nuke is staying for a while thanks to Matt Kenseth self-destructing yesterday.
Revisions/extensions (3:27 pm 9/27/2010) -You’re not dealing with the Milwaukee Election Commission, the Government “Accountability” Board, or Chicago election officials here. I’ve already had to wipe out 4 “votes” that came from somebody who had already voted. No, I won’t tell you how I know the system was gamed.
You’re probably sick of these blegs, and I honestly don’t know how many of you have both the wherewithal and the need to advertise on a station based in Worchester, Massachusetts that reaches into Boston (WCRN does stream on the web), but in case any of you do, Pete DaTechGuy has an offer for you to get anything between 10-second live-read plugs and full 60-second commercials on a 1-hour Saturday night show he is pitching to the station. He needs to get 12 minutes’ worth of regular ads sold to make the show work, and trust me, he needs for this thing to get off the ground.
If you can help one of the most-fearless bloggers on the planet out, go on over and let him know.
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