blog news, condescending twatbags, music, true crime

It’s the last Friday of 2022… so how about a few thoughts on the year?

I wasn’t going to share the featured photo, until I realized that it was dated December 24, 2021, which was a week before Betty White died… Eerie! I’d say that kind of sums up a lot of 2022.

Wow… here we are again at Friday! And it’s the very last Friday of 2022, too. Every year, I’m left amazed anew, when I realize how quickly time passes. The older I get, the faster it seems to go. As I’m sitting here thinking about what I would like to write about today, I decided to look at what I wrote about last year. I see that on December 30, 2021, I wrote one of my most popular blog posts– one I wrote about a 2008 French documentary titled America’s Broken Dream. For some reason, a lot of people have hit that post since I wrote it a year ago. I’ve even gotten some comments from people who aren’t regular readers. A couple of people also asked me to update the post with new information, which I haven’t really done.

I don’t really have any insider information about the documentary, or the people who were featured in it, including Amber and Daniel Carter, a young couple with two small children who seemed to be climbing out of poverty when Daniel got arrested for killing his neighbor. When I wrote that post, I was just inspired by my immediate thoughts, after randomly stumbling on the documentary while messing around on YouTube. A lot of people are still intrigued by America’s Broken Dream, but I’ve pretty much moved on, for now. I will keep allowing comments until the comments close automatically, but I don’t have anything to add at this point. Maybe sometime in the future, I’ll be compelled to read more about Amber and Daniel Carter, and find out more about what became of them. They definitely have a story, and people are very interested. But, as I’ve unfortunately discovered, sometimes writing about true crime can lead to unpleasant interactions with people. I’d like to minimize those, if I can.

In August of this year, I decided to disable the Facebook page I used to run for this blog. I had been wanting to do it for awhile, but held off because I knew some readers used it to follow me. It also provided a way for people to contact me privately. I had some concerns about the page, though, because it was so public and difficult to monitor. I thought about circumventing that problem by converting the page into a group, but decided I didn’t want to do that, either. I already run two Facebook groups and I’ve mostly found the experience to be rather thankless and unsatisfying. If I’m honest, I think I’d like to discontinue my wine group, because half the time, it leads to drama and negative interactions with strangers who don’t appreciate what I do. The page was less work to administrate, but it was also a lot less secure. I knew the former tenant from our last home was watching it clandestinely, as a way of monitoring my activities. I don’t worry about her anymore, as the issue that prompted her to surveil me is now resolved… and also, I discovered that, for some reason, she decided to end her life.

So the former tenant stopped being an issue of concern… but then in August, I got a very irate private message from a family member of a true crime victim I had originally written about in 2014. The post was based on newspaper articles from several papers, and comments from a family member who messaged me when I originally wrote about it, in 2014. The irate correspondent apparently saw the repost and didn’t notice the original date of the article, which had been up for YEARS, and actually got little traffic. This person decided to send me a nastygram through the Facebook page, complete with legal threats. For the record, I was not at all worried about her threats. I use Statcounter, which allows me to see how long someone spends on my blog. I could see (and I documented) that she spent about two minutes, missed a lot of details, and was apparently unaware of a number of logistical issues that would have made her legal threats pretty hard to carry out. And if she was really that upset about the content of that post, she would have noticed and contacted me much sooner than eight years after I wrote it.

Nevertheless, even though I was pretty pissed off by her message and did not have to comply with her demands, I decided that the blog post she was upset about wasn’t that important, as no one but her and her associates were even reading it. So I’ve made it private, for now. I also blocked her on Facebook. Then I dismantled the Facebook page for this blog, because I’m not here to take abuse from random people who are upset by my opinions and just want to privately send me offensive comments. My mental health matters too, people. I am a real person, and I deserve to be addressed with basic respect, like anyone does. I will happily hear complaints from people, but I expect to be approached with civility. Those who can’t do that are not welcome here, and will be banned.

Recently, I revisited the post I wrote about that incident. It occurred to me that the poster must have also tried to find the now defunct “contact form page”, which I also disabled for similar reasons. I only got one or two rude responses on that page, but I found that the contact page was problematic because people were leaving comments on posts without identifying them. There were times when I literally didn’t know what they writing about. If they had simply responded to the post in question, it would have been more useful to everyone.

The irate woman who wrote to me a few months ago had hastily identified which post had gotten her so rattled (after eight years of it being online… REALLY?). She must have been looking for the contact form, found my explanatory post about why I no longer have one, and found the Facebook page instead. Well, she can take a bow, because her abusive rant caused me to permanently ax the Facebook page, too. I can’t say I miss it, or the weird messages it used to attract from everyone from unhinged anti-vaxxers to obnoxious Trump supporters. I would always see them right after I woke up, which is not a pleasant way to start the day. Now, if you want to address something I’ve written, you can do it publicly, so everyone can see your comments and share in the response.

Like I said, I’m not here to take abuse from random people. I have a right to express my opinions, as long as they aren’t defamatory, malicious, or deliberately presenting false information as the truth. And this is my space– which I pay for– so I will run it the way I wish. I think of my blog space in the same way most of you would govern your own homes. You wouldn’t put up with abuse from a guest in your home. I don’t put up with it on my blog. This person also wrote, with evident disgust, that I just do this “for the money”, which really made me laugh. I don’t make money from doing this. I have made some ad revenue, but it’s not even enough to pay for the subscription to WordPress. So, if anyone ever does want to try to sue me to get some of the “big bucks” I supposedly make from sharing my opinions, they’re gonna be disappointed on MANY levels. Below is what I’ve made on WordPress so far… since I started hosting ads in July 2021.

And on the less visited travel blog, where I’ve hosted ads from the beginning (July 2019), I’ve made a whopping $7.25. It takes $100 to cash out, so I might make money there after I’m dead.

True crime posts do generate a lot of interest, though. I find crime interesting to write about, as they usually involve ordinary people who do extraordinary things. When I use the word “extraordinary”, I mean “out of the ordinary” or “unusual”. I’m not using that word in the normally positive way. Sometimes, I notice people repeatedly hitting posts I’ve written about, and it’s a little creepy. Lately, I’ve noticed my posts about Frederick West Greene are getting a lot of hits. I’m glad I don’t live in the United States– for many reasons, really, but especially because it creeps me out that he’s no longer in prison (as far as I know).

My post about Betty White and misattributing quotes to her was also a big winner this year. I had written about her in late December 2021, not knowing that she would die on New Year’s Eve. A few days later, I wrote a post about how people were “honoring” her by sharing a funny comment that she never made. That post consistently gets hits and the odd share, although no one has commented on it yet. I think it’s one of my better ones, even though I’ve gotten some shit from people for having issues with misattributed quotes, too. One guy got so angry about a post I wrote that he blocked me on Facebook and complained to all his friends, who later hit the post repeatedly and generated some AdShare pennies. Thanks, guys.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a blogger, it’s that people aren’t always going to like what you do. But if all I ever did was write things about hearts and flowers, this blog would be very boring, both for me as a writer, and for you as a reader. Besides, that’s just really not me. I’m not a hearts and flowers kind of person. I think if I were that kind of person, I would probably be a lot more miserable than I actually am. Because it wouldn’t be natural for me to be so cheery and positive. It’s not in my DNA. Seriously… read some of my posts, and you know I come from a long line of the miserable… but talented. We’ve got lots of funny, talented, artistic people in my family. Lots of attractive people, too. Too bad I didn’t get the gene for being thin and athletic. SIGH.

2022 has been interesting. I would say it hasn’t been as bad as last year. At least most of the stupid pandemic restrictions went away, although I haven’t been traveling more or even going out much, hence my low earnings on the travel blog. That’s mostly because of our dog, Arran, who has cancer and will likely be leaving us sometime in the new year. I am trying to prepare for his exit, because I know it will hurt. But I also know that once he’s gone, there will be new opportunities… for travel, for making new human friends (which often happens when one adopts a pet), for new canine teachers, and for new overall wisdom. Death is just something that simply happens to everyone, at some point. It hurts, but it’s a necessary part of life. Arran has taught us a lot, and continues to teach us everyday. I think one of the best lessons I’ve learned from him was reiterated yesterday, when Bill came home from work. You can see, he taught Noyzi, too… And I think he’ll tell us when he’s done teaching and ready to move on to the next place in the universe.

Arran reminds us that it’s important to appreciate and welcome those we love back to the pack when they come home…

Well, it’s probably time I finished this post and got on with the day. Got to practice guitar, walk the dogs, and work on reading my next book, so I can review it for the interested. Maybe I’ll even record another song. An old high school friend heard a Pat Benatar cover I did the other day… a B.B. King from her one “blues” album, True Love, which she released in 1991. It hasn’t gotten many hits yet, but she said I have a knack for the blues. I believe her, because she was originally a music major at my alma mater before she transferred out and became a therapist. She’s right. I do have a knack for singing the blues… both literally, and in this blog. So I guess 2023 will bring more of the same. I hope a few of you will stay tuned for that. Maybe I’ll make more big bucks from blogging in 2023.

ETA: I forgot to mention, just a couple of weeks ago, I got the most hits I’ve ever gotten in one day when someone on Reddit shared a true crime post I wrote in November 2020 about Jessica Wiseman. It wasn’t even a particularly newsy post, but I probably made $5 because about four thousand people hit it in one day. I grew up near where Wiseman and her boyfriend murdered her parents. She was a juvenile, so she only spent a few years in juvenile hall. Her boyfriend, who was older, but apparently the less guilty of the pair, wound up being executed. I remembered the case and wrote about it, and it got noticed… which is especially notable to me, because it’s definitely not my best work. 😉

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Why the Overeducated Housewife Facebook page is no more…

Early this morning, I woke up to a very irate private message on this blog’s soon to be defunct Facebook page. The person who wrote to me is apparently angry about a true crime blog article I reposted last year. This person claimed to be a family member of someone whose murder I had originally posted about in 2014, when I lived in Texas. They found the repost, decided it was inappropriate and “false”, and sent me a threatening message through my soon to be defunct Overeducated Housewife Facebook page.

I tried to respond to the person on my iPad, but because I didn’t have the app installed, I had to go on my computer. I sent a response to the person, explaining that the original post was written based on a newspaper article I read in my hometown paper in 2014. I don’t know anyone involved in the crime, but had simply read the newspaper article, was shocked by it, and wrote a reaction post that consisted of my opinions. The original post was based entirely on public information provided by the news. My opinions were mostly and genuinely sympathetic.

A few weeks after I wrote the original post in 2014, someone claiming to be from the family found it, and sent me a private message through the Facebook page. That person was upset, but hadn’t wanted me to remove the original post. Instead, they had asked me to expand on it in a follow up post, including information about how the local police department had failed the victims. They even chatted with me and provided more information about what happened. Naturally, I felt terrible for the person who contacted me, and could totally understand why they wanted someone to provide information that wasn’t in the papers. I was happy to write the follow up. I wrote the post, and they thanked me profusely and even wrote “God bless you”. That was the last I heard about it for over eight years. That post was visible on my original blog for almost five years, until I quit using Blogger.

I moved my original blog from Blogger to WordPress in 2019. Sometimes, for varying reasons, I repost old Blogger content to this newer blog. In 2021, I reposted that old true crime post because it was slightly relevant to some new content I wrote last year. It was also a somewhat popular post. I didn’t update it, and specifically stated on the post that it was posted “as/is”– that is, just as it was originally written in 2014. Then I promptly forgot about it until early this morning, when I got that message from another alleged family member who was upset about it.

That person claimed that my post had “made it hard for the family to move on”… even though that content had been available for several years on the original blog, and was up for over a year on this one, apparently completely unnoticed by the people in that family. They were also upset that I posted the name of the surviving child, which I only did because the name had already been printed in several newspapers. The first person who contacted me didn’t provide that detail; it came from reporters. But they were threatening ME with legal action for simply providing information that was already and still is widely and publicly available.

As I was thinking about what the person wrote, and realizing that I wouldn’t be going back to sleep, it occurred to me that the Facebook page for this blog has mostly caused me grief. Many of the people who followed it were friends of mine, so they were already seeing the links I put on my personal page. Many of the people who connected with me through the page were people who didn’t want to comment publicly, but were just angry about my opinions and wanted to leave me abusive comments in private. Since Facebook has been extremely annoying recently, due to its draconian bots and uncivilized comments, I decided that today, I would start the process of deleting the official Facebook page for this blog. I figure that anyone who really wants to read my blog can find it through Google, and if they want to contact me, they can leave public comments on the posts in question. That way, there’s no confusion; they have to provide a name; everyone will see what they wrote; and they are somewhat more likely to be civilized.

While I was at it, I also decided to delete a group I was running that hadn’t been active in a long time. Facebook doesn’t make it easy to delete groups. I had to manually remove all of the members, which was tedious and annoying. But that’s one less group I have to worry about, and one less avenue for strangers to harass me through social media, simply for voicing an opinion or sharing content they don’t like.

I’m not too worried about the legal threat. Based on Statcounter, I can see that the person didn’t read very carefully– I documented that their stay was about 2 minutes– and they probably don’t realize that I don’t live in the United States, and that would complicate finding an appropriate venue for any lawsuit they might want to bring. The post in question, which was public this time for 16 months, has a total of 140 hits. That’s a big whopping nine hits per month; actually it’s less than that, since they hit the post this month and probably solely because of their visits, it has racked up more than 14 hits in August 2022.

Even if I were to factor in the hits on the two posts I wrote for the original blog and consolidated for the repost, there were 998 hits total for both posts– for the less than five years the posts were available on the older blog. Somehow, I doubt my post caused any significant harm to the person who contacted me about it. Counting both blogs and all forms of those posts, my thoughts on that particular true crime story got maybe 1200 hits total. That’s over a course of about 8 years. So… maybe 150 hits per year… again roughly 14 hits per month. Explosive stuff.

Yes, a lawyer could contact me about that post, but it would be a complicated endeavor that would probably cost the potential plaintiff a lot of money and aggravation to initiate. And I also don’t think they would get more than big headaches… because although they were under the mistaken impression that I do this for “big bucks”, the truth is, so far, I’ve only made about $100 on this blog. That’s not even enough to pay for the WordPress subscription, and it took me about a year to do that. I am also well-insured, with legal and liability insurance in Germany, and liability/umbrella insurance in the United States. I don’t think a lawsuit would be very satisfying for them, at least not monetarily. What’s very sad to me is that the person could have simply made a respectful request, and I would have been happy to help them. There was no need to be threatening, insulting, and hateful. I consider that harassment, and if it happens again, they might want to consider the possibility that I could take legal action against THEM.

Anyway… I like to write about true crime, and people are very interested in those posts, but I’m not here to cause anyone psychological pain, and I’m not interested in lawsuits. While most true crime posts are not problematic, and there is no law against writing about news articles, that one caused angst to someone. That’s reason enough to remove the content, especially since it was so old and no one else cares about it, anyway. So I removed the post, and am shutting down the Facebook page. I think it will make my life simpler. I also think it will make things tougher for the haters.