blog news, language, musings, true crime

I need to work on my titles, don’t I?

I’ve never been very good at coming up with good titles for my posts. Sometimes, that means I get fewer readers than I might. Other times, my posts end up being more “click baity” than I would prefer. I think my posts on my travel blog have better titles, mainly because they are usually about something specific. I get tons of hits on my posts about attending nude spas, for instance.

I’ll also admit that sometimes, I deliberately title something a certain way to yank people’s chains. There’s a post on my travel blog titled “Enjoying some extra dick tonight”. I know what it sounds like… but it’s actually a post about extra thick pommes. In German, “dick” means thick. So, when I buy extra thick frozen fries at the store, it literally says “extra dick” on the packaging! I’m sure more than one person has been disappointed that the post isn’t pornographic, but it IS a travel blog. The blog’s title itself mentions “travel”, so they probably shouldn’t be expecting anything sexy.

I did something similar a few years ago, when I saw a stray cat walking through our rural yard in North Carolina. I titled the post, “Looking for pussy…” or something like that. Sure enough, people clicked. There are a lot of pervs out there. 😉 And I’m sure they were sad that I wrote about actual cats instead of what they were obviously looking for. It was a very short post, and my good friend, Alex, even left me a comment congratulating me on the “clever word play”. Mwahahaahaha! Because it’s such a short post, I’ll even repost it here, for the curious…

Looking for pussy…

No, not THAT kind of pussy.  I was just sitting at my desk and noticed a black cat cutting through the yard.  I decided to go outside to see where it was headed, but by the time I got out the front door, the kitty was gone.  It’s just as well, I guess.  My hounds would love to go out there and chase that cat and Bill is allergic to them anyway.

I came back inside and Bill asked me if I went looking for the cat and I said I was looking for pussy.  That made him laugh.  The dogs were whining up a storm and Arran brought me a toy when I came back inside.  That’s one of his more adorable doggy behaviors.  Whenever anyone comes home, even if it’s just after a few minutes or so, he responds by giving them one of his chewed up toys.  In this case, he brought me a stuffed duck that makes a quacking sound when you squeeze it.  All of my dogs have loved the stuffed duck toys… probably even more than they love the toy squirrels I’ve brought them.

The packers are coming to pack up our house on July 23rd and will load the truck on the 25th.  I guess we’ll leave on the 26th or 27th and start our long ass drive to San Antonio. 

I bet this blog post will get a lot of hits because I used the word pussy…  People have such dirty minds. 

In other news, this post is my 700th.  I’ve been a busy little beaver.  😉

This was very interesting, since I had never seen an armadillo before… not even in a zoo! And it was in Georgia, not Texas. Our dogs went NUTS.

I included the above video of an armadillo I filmed when we lived in Georgia, then added to the end of the above post, “Or, since we’re moving to Texas, I should say I’ve been a busy armadillo.

Arran doesn’t bring us toys anymore, mainly because we no longer give him free access to them. That’s mostly Noyzi’s fault, because Noyzi has been known to eat toys, and we don’t want to have to have them surgically extracted. But, when we give Arran a toy, he will still play with it for a minute or two. Then he demands a treat.

This post seems really random, but I do have a point to make…

I need to get better at coming up with post titles, because sometimes the titles I come up with encourage people to comment before they read. And, as some of my regulars know, that’s one of my pet peeves. It happened the other day, actually. I wrote a post called “But we really don’t need gun control, do we?” I included a screenshot of the sign for Richneck Elementary School, where a six year old child deliberately shot his 25 year old teacher last Friday. At this writing, that post has just nine hits.

I have a whole lot of friends who are teachers. One of them commented on my Facebook link for that post. Below was our exchange:

I think I gleaned more than my friend bargained for when I read her comments.

My friend must have thought my post was a liberal and impersonal rant about gun control, based only on the post’s title. For the record, I do think we need more gun control in the United States. I don’t see how we can continue to go on the way we have, where people don’t feel safe carrying out their usual tasks of the day, because they don’t know who is packing heat.

When I titled that post, I was thinking about how absolutely terrifying it is that a six year old CHILD got his hands on a firearm and KNEW HOW TO USE IT! He was skilled enough that he could aim that gun at a teacher and seriously injure her. And he carried the weapon into the school and pointed it at a beautiful 25 year old woman who was just doing her job. By so many accounts, Abby Zwerner is a much beloved and respected teacher. She could have been killed by a six year old. How scary is that? And then I found out that I’m actually kind of connected to Abby, simply because I lived and worked for so many years in the area where she lives.

In my original post about that incident, I mentioned that Abby and I have a mutual Facebook friend. She teaches in a city near where I grew up, and where I still have a lot of friends. I was born in Hampton, Virginia, which is adjacent to Newport News, where Abby teaches.

It turns out our mutual Facebook friend is a woman I knew in high school. We were in a lot of classes together. I used to sit with her at lunch, when we were ourselves students in public high school, back in the 80s. I remember her stepmother was a substitute teacher, getting her own teaching credentials. Abby’s aunt, my high school friend, is also a teacher with a doctoral degree who teaches in the same geographical area. One of her best friends is an Air Force colonel, who also went to school with us. I just got a Christmas card from her the other day.

So now, I feel even more connected to that incident, even though I moved out of the Tidewater area of Virginia about 23 years ago. It’s still “home”, even though I don’t really have a home to go to down there anymore. Not only do I still know a lot of people from that area, but I also have connections because of so many of my friends– people who have never lived in the Hampton Roads area– who are teachers. And what happened to Abby, could have happened to any one of them. I’m sure all of my teaching friends are feeling a special kind of terror about this case.

My dear friend who wrote the above comments is very special to me. I would be absolutely DEVASTATED if she got seriously hurt while on the job, never mind if she was killed. She doesn’t teach in Newport News, but she is a Virginia teacher. I can’t even fathom how scared she must be to read about gun violence in schools. Because of where I went to college, I know a lot of teachers. I remember watching them prepare for their careers in our dormitories at Longwood University. Their coursework often involved a lot of reading, papers, and tests, as well as complicated art projects. I never even knew what contact paper was until I went to Longwood and made friends with budding teachers. They were constantly using it to make learning aids for their students.

There is so much preparation and dedication involved with becoming a teacher. It’s a lot of work for not that much money… but at least in the early 90s, there weren’t constant gun related events in schools. In those days, my friends were blissfully unaware of the bloodshed that was coming to America’s schools from 1999 onward. My friends who became teachers all have one thing in common. They are kind, caring, creative people who love working with young people. But now, they have to fear for their lives as they do their jobs. My friend wasn’t the only teacher who wrote about how teachers get blamed when kids do crazy things. Another former high school classmate– not someone I was friends with– wrote something similar about the crisis in public schools.

Maybe I don’t really want people to read what I write…

There is a certain freedom in writing things that people don’t think they want to read. I do use a headline analyzer, which gives me a “score” that shows how “good” my titles are. I aim for the green score, which I usually manage to attain, even though my post titles are often kind of cryptic.

After years of writing blog posts, I’ve come to realize that there’s a certain freedom in not giving too much away in a post title. I’ve frequently mentioned that I don’t write this stuff for money, so I don’t necessarily want to upset people. Sometimes I do make people angry, and they have a right to their feelings. I don’t want to deal with hate mail, though, nor do I want to be targeted by criminals. True crime posts often invite lurkers, which is unnerving. I’d rather my readers be people who know and like me, than the random person who jumps to conclusions.

So… maybe, for my mental and physical health, my post titles should stay the way they are… But then, that might lead to people continuing to assume things before they’ve read. I don’t think my friend has yet read the post she referenced. If she had read it, she’d know that I don’t blame teachers for what that little boy did. I don’t even necessarily blame the kid. The adults in his life have failed him. At least we know that he won’t be going to juvenile hall… at least not for this crime. He’s too young. But he probably will end up in foster care, which may or may not be a good thing. Foster care is a mixed bag. If that boy doesn’t get some serious help, he may very well go to juvie soon… and that will probably lead to prison.

Anyway… I’ve found that I often have connections to the things I write about, and that’s what compels me to blog. I want to put my thoughts down somewhere. I don’t mind when people read, especially if they get something good from my insights. However, I also don’t want to be a target. So… maybe these crappy blog post titles are really just a form of cowardice. Maybe it’s time I stopped blogging for the public. Or maybe I should just write book reviews, although even those can be controversial. I wouldn’t be able to post every day, either.

Today’s post probably won’t necessarily attract a lot of readers. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. But I do feel better for having written today. I hope one or two people enjoyed my insights, such as they are. Or… at least had occasion to think about them a little bit…

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politics, Trump

Political potty parity story leaves me pissed…

The featured photo was taken at a bar in Nagold, BW, Germany. Maybe it would have been a good solution for the Secret Service to have a row of toilets in the woods.

Having to eliminate human waste is a universal experience. Everybody poops. Everybody pees. Sometimes, we need to vomit. It’s just a fact of life. I would think that even people like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner would understand that when you gotta go, you gotta go. But according to a report shared by the Washington Post, Jared and Ivanka have been less than empathetic toward their Secret Service detail regarding their need for a place to rest.

Although much ado was made about how Donald Trump supposedly donated his presidential salary of $400,000, it’s no secret that he’s made a lot of money off of U.S. taxpayers. And, thanks to his daughter’s unwillingness to dedicate one of the 6.5 bathrooms in her rented Kalorama home for the use of the Secret Service, taxpayers also paid $3000 a month for a rented studio basement apartment across the street. When the lease on the apartment expires in September 2021, taxpayers will have paid $144,000 to a homeowner in Washington, DC. Why? So that members of the Secret Service could take a piss without inconveniencing the Kushners, the neighbors, or using the facilities in restaurants.

I read about this situation last night and, frankly, it really *pissed* me off. I shared the post with the comment that I hate the Trumps. That’s no lie. I do pretty much hate them, although I have tried not to say it out loud. For four years, I’ve watched that family treat other human beings with gross indignity and contempt as they’ve lied repeatedly and done all they can to stay in power against the will of the people. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things I’ve repeatedly heard from Trump’s champions is that he is just “like them” and speaks like them. But really, he’s not like them at all. He is a tacky, vulgar, inhumane, jackass, who doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and it appears that his daughter and son-in-law are much like Trump is… with no regard for other people and their most basic of needs.

Most people I know who work for a living and lead a “simple” lifestyle are basically decent and kind. If someone needed to go to the bathroom, they wouldn’t deny them. If someone was obviously hungry or thirsty or needed medical assistance, they’d do what they could to help. Trump doesn’t have that basic regard for others. He never has. The proof has been documented for many decades, and it appears that the shit has rolled downhill into Ivanka’s generation. To me, the Trumps have always had an elitist attitude, and yet they are extremely tacky people with no class. And this article in the Washington Post, while admittedly a bit biased, seemed to really highlight that attitude. And yes, even if the article was a bit salacious and I “fell for it”, God help me, I do think that forcing taxpayers to pay $3000 a month for an apartment so the Secret Service can do their business is totally tacky and not a good look.

I was pretty surprised when someone claimed that the article I shared was “click bait” and consisted of sloppy reporting. This person seemed to feel that the lack of restroom facilities for the Secret Service was much ado about nothing. According to the Post’s article, White House spokesperson Judd Deere claimed that the Kushners had nothing but the greatest respect for the Secret Service men and women who are tasked with protecting them. Supposedly, their home was wide open to the Secret Service if there was a need– or, at least that’s what Deere claims.

And yet, even though the Kushners supposedly have great respect for the Secret Service, U.S. taxpayers still had to pay $3000 a month for them to have access to a bathroom when the Kushners’ home already has over half a dozen bathrooms in it. This happened, even though Republicans often crow about how the government needs to control its spending and not pass unnecessary expenses to taxpayers. In other words, a lot of money was being pissed away so that the Secret Service members could take a piss in peace.

The Secret Service had attempted to remedy the lack of a potty situation by erecting a portable toilet near the Trump/Kushner abode. Naturally, the port-a-let was not well received in the tony neighborhood, so that solution was short lived. I can’t say I blame the neighbors for not liking the porta-potty in their neighborhood, although personally, I would prefer to see that over someone taking a piss in the woods. In Germany, that’s a pretty common sight, especially during traffic jams or at rest stops that charge 70 cents to use the facilities.

Next, the Secret Service used a toilet in a garage at former President Obama’s residence, which was nearby. The Obama family’s security detail had managed to set up a break area on site, since the Obamas had an out building they weren’t using. However, apparently, one of the Secret Service people from the Kushner family’s detail left a mess that they neglected to clean up. So that made them unwelcome to use the toilet at the Obama family’s house.

Then, they started using a toilet a mile away at Mike Pence’s residence at the Naval Observatory, where there was a guardhouse with a toilet in it. Or, they would visit restaurants and use the facilities there. The ultimate solution finally came when a homeowner in the Kushners’ neighborhood offered up the basement in a house near the Kushners’ home that she had already rented out. The tenant in that house agreed to let the basement be sectioned off for the Secret Service’s use if the rent was reduced. It was– and the homeowner, who says she’s “happy to have been able to have helped” pocketed another $3000 a month for the use of her 820 square foot apartment.

Now… don’t get me wrong. I can certainly understand why the Kushners wouldn’t want the Secret Service in their personal space. I wouldn’t like that, either. However, government positions are supposed to be about service to the American people. I do think it’s ridiculous that $144,000 of taxpayer money was spent simply so that the Secret Service could have a place to do their very necessary business, especially when the Kushners have more bathrooms than family members. Seems to me they could have either moved to a home that was better set up for the necessary Secret Service detail, or they could have made arrangements to accommodate them in a way that didn’t burden taxpayers. But, like everything else in the Trump administration, it seems that little thought was given to the American people or just plain being humane to people working for the Trump family.

I might not have been so *pissed* about this situation if the Trump family hadn’t, all along, been all about enriching themselves at taxpayer expense. I think about all of the trips to Trump owned properties that taxpayers have paid for, as well as the less than gracious way Trump has behaved regarding his election loss, and it just disgusts me. I’ve heard about how the Trumps would “make America great again”, but all I’ve seen from them is vulgarity and a complete disconnect from understanding people’s most basic needs. Using the bathroom is definitely a basic need, and I think Trump and Kushner should have done more to see that the people working for them were taken care of in a more dignified and humane and less expensive way.

Personally, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way the story was written, although I suppose an argument could be made that the reporting was, perhaps, a bit biased. On the other hand, news stories are written by human beings, and almost all human beings have thoughts and emotions. I also think that a lot of us are just fed up with the Trump family, and exhausted by the COVID-19 life in general. I know I am. I’m just tired of it all right now, and I don’t even have it that bad. Maybe it’s my fault for putting my thoughts out there, though, since people are always going to chime in.

Perhaps a more fact based article from The Washington Post, devoid of any shades of the reporters’ personal opinions, would have been technically better. Given the events of the past couple of months, I guess I’m more prepared to give reporters a pass for not just strictly “reporting the facts, Ma’am”. I also think that even if the article hadn’t been written the way it was, I would have come to the same conclusion that I did. I don’t necessarily want or need to hear that something I’m legitimately upset about is “silly” or that I’ve fallen for “click bait”. No one likes to have their opinions discounted, particularly in a public forum, and especially on their own space.

Anyway, the person’s parting shot was, “personally, I’d rather read your blog.” Maybe I’m oversensitive. I’ll own that. But I do think it’s disrespectful to be snarky toward a so-called friend who is clearly upset about something, especially on their space. I didn’t take that comment as a compliment and would prefer that this person not do me any favors.

Things are tough all over and they don’t seem to be getting any better. I should probably just hang out with dogs.

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