Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hey, Bill, listen up! You, too, Lamar!

LOL, I couldn't resist sending an email to my illustrious Senators with this cartoon. I'd be willing to wager that Senator Frist is dead set against cloning if only for this reason.

Thanks for the wonderful material, Chris!

BlogNashville fast approaching...

BlogNashville is fast approaching, and I believe that there are still some spots available. I'm really looking forward to meeting some of the blogospheres luminaries there.

I think I found a new home...

As detailed, kind of, in the post below copied from my first blog, I am looking for solutions. The site I had started below was inadequate, and while busy linking some sites, I noticed that many of those people had their Blogs at Blogspot. Being the sensible person that I am, I checked it out, and with the addition of a couple of add-ons, turns out that this will suit me much better. So, here I am!


What follows are disorganized thoughts and ramblings about this blog: Toe In The Water...

As I was looking for the past couple of days for a direction to take this blog I came across references to advertising on blogs. Specifically Blogads and Google ads. I mean, I have seen stuff about them before but have ignored them. Now I am interested.

I started this blog on a free service, Seo Blog. When I decided to start a blog I looked at one that I had the technical skills to handle (limited), and the finances to afford (zero). The first one that I investigated that fit those criteria happened to be Seo Blog. So far, so good... I created my first 'testing, testing...' post, and it worked well. Then I started to customize my blog by adding a small graphic into the header, and quickly found out the limitations of free blog services. From this I am assuming that adding advertising to my blog may not be possible. There may be free blog services out there that allow me to customize freely, but I don't know about them. Yet. I could always ask for reader advice, but that brings up another area that is, understandably, severely lacking.

Another item: Toe In The Water was started as a 'getting my feet wet' project, hence the name, and I don't know if I'll want to change it later or not. Or if it is possible to change... I may have to start another blog. I do own the name PaxAmericana.net, hosted on GoDaddy.com, but was unable to figure out how to use WordPress there... remember the limited technical skills. As most can deduce from the name, I had a particular direction for that site in mind when I created it. This brings to mind a huge concern of mine, and that is: Do I have anything worthwhile to say, and does anyone want to hear it?

OK, so I'm looking at four areas that need to be addressed.
1. Finances to support blog.
2. Technical skills necessary to run blog.
3. Content of blog.
4. Readership of blog.

Examining these one at a time, I'll look at the financing first. Easily done, I could get off my lazy ass and get a job. Or maybe not so easily. Being unemployed for three and a half years has certainly been an experience, and carries some intense baggage with it, but I'm not gonna go there! If that was my goal, I'd simply put up a tip jar, and then beg online for cash. Not gonna happen. If I was gonna wallow in self-pity, I'd have named this blog Jobless In Tennessee. So I'm left with free blogs until things get better here. No problems with that at this point.

Secondly, the technical skills aspect. This is not a problem to overcome, I just need the time to learn the skills, and that will happen.

Thirdly and Fourthly, as these are related, content and readership. If the content is compelling, readership will come. I have read that internet porn is the biggest moneymaker out there. Ok, so.... scratch that, ain't gonna go there either! That leaves me with original content, links and commentary, or a combination.

As far as original content, I feel that I am sorely lacking. I am not a reporter in any sense, and unless something happened right on top of me would not be in a position to do any reporting. So, news is out. I don't have the critical thinking and writing skills such as Wretchard at Belmont Club to provide content like his. Besides, he does a fine job! I don't have a position like those fine people at The Daily Demarche, New Sisyphus, or the, sadly, retired and sorely missed, The Diplomad, and therefore no unique perspective for content. I cannot hope to approach the content of Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail (hope to meet you at BlogNashville Bill!), or the boys at Power Line. LOL, am I name dropping, or what??? These sites are DAILY reads for me, and although I have yet to meet any of them, I feel like I know them well.

My military experience was a four-year stint in the USAF in the late 60's, which kinda leaves out milblogging. Catblogging? Nope. Tireblogging? (Thanks, Glenn!). Nope.

Can I be a news aggregator? I could, but there are so many who do it so well already. In order to be successful I'd have to find a niche that is unfilled, and that would leave me looking for more answers.

One way or another, these thing will work out. Either I'll come up with some ideas that will fly, or this blog will die on the vine. Time will tell.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Living with Nature

I am in the process of moving here from another Blog service, this is a test copy...

Interesting coincidence..

Today driving back home from my workout, I was noting the amount of roadkill racoons, and thinking how they had increased drastically over the years. So as I check out Instapundit, I find Glen has a link to his book review and commentary on The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature.

Ok, this brought to mind a period from my childhood, and some trends I had noticed here lately. Then, Lo, and Behold, John at Power Line posted this article.

When I first moved into my present house back in the mid 70's, I was an avid bowhunter. The area was (and is) located between Gallatin and Hendersonville, TN., a few miles Northeast of Nashville. There were a few subdivided areas scattered throughout farmland and wooded areas, bounded on one side by highway US31E, and on the other by the Old Hickory Lake impoundment. Deer were nowhere to be found. Nor racoons. Squirrels and rabbits were scarce. No fox, no coyote, and by God! no bear, cougar, or wolves. Seemingly the only abundant wildlife were skunks and possums, again judging by roadkill amounts. I mentioned that I was a bowhunter to indicate that I was at the time actively out and looking for game.

Well, my bowhunting days are long since over, development has continued apace (and increased in intensity) leaving many more subdivided areas, businesses, and even several schools, and much less farmland and wooded areas. Wildlife? It's all over the place. Deer are common, sometimes as close to the house as my back yard, and seemingly unconcerned about our penned dogs barking at them. A week or two ago as I returned home, I had to stop to let a flock of wild turkey cross the road. Once in a while I will spot a fox. Although they have been reported in the county, I have seen no coyote... yet. Racoons, as mentioned at the start, have increased dramatically, and possums are still very plentiful. I assume that the snapping turtles are staying in or near the lakes and ponds.

So, is this increased presence due to wildlife learning to live with human activity, or due to construction activity moving them out of their normal habitats, or simply a dramatic increase in population? I don't know the answer, but can attest to the result.

For several years during my childhood (10-13) my family lived on the Northern California coast in what is now Redwoods National Park. My father was an employee of the state park system, and we were housed in an old Coast Guard station directly on the beach, accessed by three miles of dirt road. We were the only residents on the only access to approximately twenty miles of beach. Today it would be said that the place was so remote that we had to pipe sunlight in. Our electricity was supplied during daylight and evening hours by a deisel generator. Ok, now that the scene is set...

Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Redwoods National Park, CA

(The house I referenced is set back about 100 yards from the beach in about the middle of the bluffs shown in the left center of this picture. Less my daughter and son in law in the picture, and a few picnic tables and grills added, this scene is much the same as it appeared 40+ years prior to this image. The house is long gone, with the spot occupied by several modular buildings housing Park Rangers. Electricity is still provided, I believe, by generator.)

We had a couple of pet cats, and each evening we would put our table scraps on our small back porch to feed them. One summer we had an uninvited guest, a young black bear. For a couple of months he would come up to our porch during the evening and eat the cat's dinner. I still remember vividly watching him eat through the window in our back door, being separated from him by a quarter inch of glass and about five feet of air. He never caused any problems, just ate and left. He spent most of his time on a hillside adjacent to the house, feasting on salmonberries. Unfortunately for this bear, he made a major tactical mistake. My grandparents really did not like the idea of their five grandchildren playing in the yard at the side of the house, and a real live bear eating grass just across the driveway from them, approximately fifty feet away. I mean, they REALLY did not like this! So my father did the sensible thing at the time, and shot the bear (Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but this was an unauthorized procedure. I will say, though, that bear meat smokes up pretty good, and there is still a small bear rug somewhere in the family.)

During this period, it also wasn't unusual to be awakened early in the morning to the thumping of elk antlers whacking the side of the house as elk ate my mother's flowers.

I related this to explain that I have always found that wild animals tend to ignore humans as long as they don't feel threatened, and humans don't approach too closely. However, an elk would not consider you as a food source, and a black bear only if you were already carrion. After reading Glen's review, I've been giving serious thought to how I would feel about this live and let live attitude if an animal, cougar or otherwise, looked at me as his next meal. Hmmmm.