Funny and/or Strange My Poetry Uncategorized

Ugh, They Did It Again…

Ugh, they did it again. I was away from here more than I was here the past few months, and things look–and work–a little differently. Ugh.

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
I see they did it again
They made us believe we know how it works
Oh baby
It might seem like whining
But it doesn’t mean I’m not serious
‘Cause to lose my bearings
That is just so typically me
Oh baby, baby
Damn, they did it again
I played with posting, I’m lost in the game
Oh baby, baby
Oops, I didn’t mean to delete
Couldn’t find the save draft tab
I’m not that ignorant
You see my problem is this…
I just couldn’t find
Oh wait there it is, now where did it go
I cry, watching the words
Can’t you see I just miss the straight-forward days
With all the buttons right there
It’s just so typically W.P.
Oh baby, oh
Oops, they did it again
I played with your heart, got lost in the game
Oh baby, baby
Oops, you think I’m in love
That I’m…

Am I The Only One Exhausted By Twitter?

I try to me a man of the times, albeit of the “quickly aging/hell in a bucket” variety.  I have my vices (whiskey, salty snacks, pedal steel guitar music and the objectification of c1expensive trucks and all those half-dressed Russian women on Instagram) and I have my ekaterina zuevadevices–the newly acquired bad-ass desktop computer (because laptop keyboards are too small for my sausage-sized fingers, and sometimes you just can’t say no to a big old desktop monitor and 2.5 TB of Itunes music, downloaded internet images, saved emails and personal photographs). There is also a slick Samsung notepad that is great for road trips, digital literature, and the morning visit to the bathroom. I’m just not the dustbowl luddite some folks seem to think I am.

Much to the approval of my family, not to mention the shocked amazement of old friends, I also recently acquired my very first smart phone. It wasn’t really by choice. As my children approached graduation, the old land line phone started to ring incessantly, mostly with universities and colleges, but increasingly with telemarketers, unidentified robo-calls, offers of credit card refinancing (although I don’t use credit cards), free cruises and trips  to the Caribbean, and those guys call from “the imagestech support” who desperately need to access my computer to fix a terrible problem I’d yet to realize. (Nice try, guys, really).

It was time for the land line to go, and time for me to put a little effort into 1.) keeping my phone not only charged, but turned on, and 2) actually knowing where my phone is at any particular moment and carrying it around with me, and 3.) actually answering it when it makes noises.

Those noises were the tricky part. My kids fixed it up so I can access all my social media–a well-meant job, though frustrating when I realized that every web site has a different website for android, requiring and entirely fresh learning process. And it is loud. The indexdamn thing is constantly chirping and clucking with notifications, and while I could turn them off, I am trying to be more engaged with the modern world. The grumpy, contrarian, stubborn technophobe isn’t really who I am–although I’m frustrated by the constant, and usually gratuitous, upgrades and changes of our technology,  I love the access to opinion, art, literature, and thought provided by the age of the internet. I’m entranced by Instagram, beguiled by Facebook and the connectivity it gives me to friends and family despite world-weary teenagers regularly telling me “Facebook is over.” (Kids: keep the commentary to yourselves; your wisdom is just as deep as your wardrobe choices are appealling. You may be the future, but I’m still the present, and if you sneer at me again I’m going to embarrass you in front of your friends with a fierce and until now unanticipated grace and fury.

Of all the social media, Twitter is the format I just can’t seem to abide. While I’ll be the first to praise its unrivaled value in the transmission and early coverage of breaking news, I’ve written elsewhere about the derogatory effect that Tweet-based communication and culture, which are purposefully superficial, projects onto our culture. For a while, when it seemed that a significant portion of young people were gleaning their news from Twitter, I feared for the future.  Occasional profundity through brevity is stomped on by the obscene lack of nuance.  One needs only think of Donald Trump and his one word proclamations.  “Sad.” and “Corrupt.” Declarative proclamations punctuating venal opinion stated as fact, as parodied here:
I am confident that Trump owes his rise as much to the trend of news as infotainment, and the era of putting page hits ahead of integrity in media. I would go further by saying that in a world without Twitter, Donald Trump would not be the phenomena that he is today,  not only because it is an ideal platform for his simplistic, unformed rants and half-formed “policy” but because the very nature of Twitter has prepared us to accept such.

Just as frustrating is the inherent chaos of Twitter–in order to keep up with even my modest list of a few hundred followed Tweeters  (far less than my “follows” on WordPress), constant vigilance is essential lest I fall hopelessly behind and miss an actually interesting post. I don’t have time for it, and miss far more than I see.  Adding insult to an already difficult task are the serial retweeters who place hit counts over quality. You know, the ones who show up throughout the day with two dozen or more re-tweets in a row? Is selectivity no longer a thing? Is liking a post not enough?

It is little wonder to me that Twitter is supposedly twitching and and gasping on life support. Unless one has no life outside a device, or a life so dry and quiet that one can devote significant attention to scrolling the tsunami of static roaring across the Twitter feed, the format is a mess. The only value I find in it is that other folks, with seemingly more time, energy, and resources than I, somehow find a way to sift through the detritus for rare clumps of value which they can package for the rest of us to consider and enjoy as I did with the faux Trump quote above.  As far as its value in carrying my own words to readers, I rate it as a few rungs higher than attaching notes to balloons and releasing them into the wind.


Help. Am I Alone In This?

We’re all familiar with how WordPress keeps screwing with the format. For a long time, I was able to find my way back to the interface that has lists of all the posts in my various catagories…drafts, published, scheduled, etc. It was in black, and very functional.  Now, my page is totally frakked. It looks like the photo below, with images and big blocks with teasers of the text…sort of like what the reader looks like. It is an abomination.  Also, the blue color makes me want to puke. Literally, it corrodes my soul.

Screenshot (1)


I don’t understand overly technical talk. Jargon makes me want to poke people in the eye with a glowing iron rod. If anyone can offer a step by step way to go back to the simple, clean, grid-like design, I’d love a tip. I want it to look like this again, ALL THE TIME:
Screenshot (2)

Another thing about this format–when one schedules a post for a later date, it is very awkward to change the date and time, unlike in the old format. I do not for the life of me understand why the people at WordPress would take a wonderful product–I mean, I LOVE it here–and make it so much less user friendly. Am I alone?



Christmas Commentary

Merry Christmas, My Friends

Another year, another Christmas, another opportunity to thank those of you who make time in their days to see what kind of drivel I’ve posted this time, and also to those of you–and I know that in many cases you are both of these–who put forth the effort to share with the rest of us, to entertain us, educate, titillate, agitate, and inspire us with your work, your examples, and the small truths of your lives within which we see reflections of our own. Thank you for it all, and regardless of how–or even if–you celebrate the holiday, I hope it is a good one.


Commentary Uncategorized

Old and New WordPress Editor Screenshots

Referencing my dislike for the “new wordpress experience” which I wrote about here.  I hate it, by the way.  What do you think?


New WordPress


old wordpress


Does Anyone Prefer the “Improved Posting Experience?”

I thought I was alone, but that just shows how presumption can make fools of us all.  I noticed today that Renard Moreau over at Renard Moreau Presents has been pondering the same notion:  is their anyone who thinks that the New WordPress Editor is actually an “improved posting experience?”  It’s certainly not simpler–I despise when options are hidden behind menus–give me the whole smorgasbord right where I can stick my fork in it, please.  I’ve also had a heck of a time getting used to the new-for-the-sake-of-being-new method of scheduling posts to be published later, or saving as drafts.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, by why?

What is the fascination tech geeks have with making something simple and good into something needlessly opaque and convoluted?  It reminds me of a few wildly popular authors I know who, since they’re now cash cows, have transformed from writers of taut, efficient barn burners into evil geniuses popping out ponderous thousand-page 3-book series monsters.  I’m thinking of Firefox, the slick little browser that could has been force fed functions like caged goose that it is now a ponderous, frequently crashing monolith–or Windows 8, which managed to take the most intuitive piece of mainstream software in the history of geekery and turn it into something dark, utterly impenetrable, and totally divorced from the very elements that made it so wonderfully simple to use.  I still can’t spend five minutes on my daughters Win8 machine without wanting to cry.

So, what’s the verdict.  Anyone else have strong opinions?  Thoughts?

Commentary Journal Quote

Response To Suzie81’s “7 Questions For Bloggers.”

Last year Suzie81 stirred up the blogosphere with a wonderfully successful post that posed 7 significant questions to bloggers.  It was so successful she’s decided to give it another go-round.  There is no way i can resist–and why should I?  Here goes:

Annie Leibowitz photo

1. How did you create the title for your blog? I’m a big poetry fan and an enthusiastic, in not particularly talented or prodigious poet–the jump from the word “poem” to the french word for an apple, “pomme,” is a short one. Ed Abbey, one of my favorite writers, has a small collection of his verse collected in a book called “Earth Apples”–making the same connection.  Now, around these parts it’s not uncommon to see piles of horse dung on the backroads, which my grandfather always called “road apples.”  Many of the early posts on this blog were old pommes, I mean pomes, I mean poems–old apples, if you will, and kind of shitty at that…the title for my new blog became obvious.

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?  There are no rules here beyond civility–write what you want, when you want it, and have a blast doing it.  In other forms of writing, we need to be market sensitive–who is the client, what do they want, who is the target audience, what do they want, what do they expect?  Unless you’re looking to monetize your blog, or you covet fat statistics, there is no reason to do anything but what you enjoy–and there aren’t many formats in life that provide that opportunity.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?  I was baptized as a child–that’s a pretty weird thing, if you think about it. Lightning once struck the ground a few feet from where I stood–I could feel the static in my beard, and smell the ozone and electric discharge..

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?  “I love you.” Seriously, what other answer could there be?  

just answer the questions
just answer the questions

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit? That’s difficult–the first Christmas, maybe? Talking barnyard animals and angels hovering over a bunch of bewildered shepherds? How cool is that?   

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose? I’m named for my grandfather. There isn’t another name in the world I’d like better.

7. If your life was a B-Movie what would it be called? The Thing That Slept Through Breakfast.

Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment