Saturday, August 01, 2020

BLUNDERING THROUGH THE BLOGS   This is the “address” that will take you directly to my posts on Medium.  It seems to be a formula in line with convention among programmers.  I’ve been able to find others by using this little sequence once I figured out what the name after the backslash was.

Yesterday I drove to Great Falls (80 miles) in the heat and despite the possibility of contracting Covid-19 to keep a doctor’s appointment that I was told I had to have in order to continue with my prescriptions from my chosen doctor.  This doctor had told me she would never threaten me with the cancellation of my prescription as a way of making me respect and obey her.  Several other female docs had done that, as well as a female physician assistant, though not her supervising doctor.  It appears to be a power issue for insecure people.  

In this case it was a power issue for an insecure government.  The doctor works for a government supported clinic meant to serve people in need.  The rule about having to have a doctor’s appointment came from the conditions of funding.  It’s sensible in some ways, since people can get mental health, dental, addiction and legal help and are not always in control or even still there.  The clinic is not as squalid as some described elsewhere. The old bank building they occupy is large, organized, and clean.  Previously a consortium of doctors leased it for a private practice.

Last night, reassured that I could perform this death-defying feat (heat, virus, and rackety old pickup) I looked at my presence on Twitter, Blogger, Medium, and where my address change had made my self-published books inaccessible.  It took months to get the attention of the website and get my address changed.  Now I can get on the website, but can’t find my own account.  

So — I’m suspended on Twitter, blinded on Blogger, intimidated by Medium and abandoned by Lulu.  Quite aside from politics and aging.  The part that makes it amusing is that these “anti-social” media are probably no more informed or in control than I am.  Their blind alleys are epitomized by their constant urging to make my posts “prettier” and therefore more attractive, while never addressing content.

Also, the very nature of early bloggers, quick takes on other writing as well as reporting on themselves as individuals, meant emphasis on presentation rather than content quality.  Academia and Researchgate are trying to go another way by simply making available “academic” paper, without being too tight about what the quality might be above a certain point.  They are not as stringent as actual scientific or philosophical journals that have been vetted, but build on the example of “pre-print”, follow-your-own-judgement websites as prompted by logjams in editing “proper” journals.

Long ago I read something — actually in something scientific — proposing that if you consistently increase the sheer numbers of something, it will morph into something else, something different.  In fact, that appears to be what caused hominins to arise from primates and today’s humans from a hundred previous hominins.  This appears to be happening to websites — in fact, to the internet as a whole.

My backup whiff is to start a mailing list that travels from me to other individuals.  Maybe a dozen or so people have signed up so far.  This fulfills another often expressed desire of websites, which is to create connections among people on a friendship basis until they are a group to whom one can “market.”   I bristle.  For one thing, I despise being constantly evaluated by the mercantile cravings of today’s seemingly only common denominator of wealth.  For another thing, I’m a crabby independent solitary writer who gets up pre-dawn so as to have peace and quiet.  I don’t want no stinkin’ community.

It was sort of charming when one feral cat found the cat flap in my kitchen door and came inside to have kittens.  Now that I’m up to eight grown cats and five newborns, it’s not even funny, esp. since the humane societies are crippled by the pandemic.  They say local ranchers want cats all the time to keep down the mice, but the reason that they need replacements is that the coyotes kill the cats.  How do I generate some other strategies except to get these cats to the vet who will kill them for a stiff fee.  (He hates doing it.)  Spaying is obvious if you can catch a female cat between being in heat and nursing kittens.  

Website providers plead for quality writing.  Many of the people who write for websites are hoping for money because money means time to write.  But newbies, whether inexperienced writers or just simply still young, don’t yet have the means for quality writing.  Today’s worst deficit is simply not reading.  Ambitious young who write their autographies before they are old enough to vote just haven’t lived long enough to accumulate worthy subjects.  This accounts for why people with desperate third-world or stigma-penalized pasts are better writers — they have crammed much experience into many fewer years.

American schools do not teach grammar necessary for writing.  In the years I taught high school English there was never a long enough year to get through the subject/verb stuff to what really counts like participles, gerunds, and other Latin terms for keeping intelligibility.  Kids never learn how to compose a clear sentence or that the first necessity is thought, maybe even without words.  

Only once did I have a textbook that said, “before you write anything, sit for ten minutes and consider your subject.”  The kids always wanted to go pell-mell into their store of clichés so as to get the whole ordeal over with.  (A preposition that ends a sentence is no longer a preposition because now it has no object and has become an adverb.)  At first I gave those hurtlers F’s.  Didn’t stop them. Then I tried holding up their papers as examples.  No change.  I ended up standing on my desk and ripping up the writing.  THAT got their attention.  (One cannot rip up people’s computers to make them think.  Alas.)

Instead of grammar, which is the architecture of sentences, Americans teach “usage” which is merely an exercise in conformity, like so much else.  Not that it’s a bad thing to write like a 20th century high brow magazine, but that it might not express the original idea to use that style.  (There are styles??)  For people who are learning a second language, vocabulary counts as much as structure.

Just to be safe, I’ll post this to Blogger, Medium, and my email list.  Send me your email to get on it.  I’m at  It’s a little ag-community telephone cooperative that struggles with email support but that’s a different post.

No comments: