Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dialogue Blogging: superior to Monologue Blogging

Blogs almost always need comments to be of maximum value to both author and readers.

There are almost no exceptions to this general rule.

I have yet to think of one, though I know of comment-deprived blogs.

A link log is the only exception I know of.

A link log is like Robot Wisdom, (of Jorn Barger, and one of the earliest pioneering blogs) which simply collects and provides links that the blogger thinks will be relevant, of value, or interesting to the readers.

I. Dialogue Blogging is superior to Monologue Blogging


Dialogue = two voices = back and forth = conversation = expressing oneself and receiving the expressions of an other = two-way communication = mutual interaction of sender and receiver with message transmission = one message generates multiple messages.

Monologue = one voice = shut up and listen to me = you are of no value = my ideas and opinions shall be proclaimed, and I don't want to hear from you = passive absorbing of message = one message remains rigidly isolated from other messages.

Dialogue Blogging
= blogger/author posts are accompanied by posted reader comments, via comment text entry form or, less ideally, via email to blogger/author.

Blog visitors are encouraged, directly asked, to add comments.

Blogger/Author seeks two-way conversation, not sermon pulpit.

Blogger/Author is humble, teachable, open to others, inquisitive, altruistic.

Blogger/Author desires to communicate in a mutual exchange of information for mutual benefit and further enlightenment, acquired via reader critique of, and contributions to, blog content.

II. Quotes from THE MIRACLE OF DIALOGUE by Reuel L. Howe
(The Seabury Press, Minneapolis, 1963)

* " monologue a person is concerned only for himself...others exist to serve and confirm him." (p.36)

* "The communication of such a [monologueing] person is parasitical, anxious, and lacking in creative impulses and possibilities." (p. 36)

* "His communication is parasitical because he is not really interested in others and values them only according to the feelings they produce in him." (p.36)

* "He is anxious because he seeks confirmation of himself, is afraid of personal encounter, and tolerates only agreement with himself and his ideas." (p. 36)

* "And he is uncreative because his word is a closed, not open, one; that is, he seeks to present his own meaning as final and ultimate." (p. 36)

* "Dialogue is that address and response between persons in which there is a flow of meaning between them in spite of all the obstacles that normally would block the relationship." (p. 37)

* "...a person comes into being only in relation....when a relationship is broken and abandoned, the person as a person dies. This impression is confirmed when we visit a mental hospital and see there people who have been so severely hurt in the milieu of relationship that they have withdrawn from it altogether. The lifeless expressions on their faces indicate clearly that the spark of personhood has disappeared." (p. 86)

* "The dialogical person is a open person, one who is known first by his willingness and ability to reveal himself to others, and, secondly, by his willingness and ability to hear and receive their revelation." (p. 71)

Blogs are ideally, in most situations and applications, dialogical.

Even with behind-the-firewall intra-corporate project collaboration or information dissemination blogs, dialogue is vital.

Employees need to be able to post comments, questions, clarifications, to the information a fellow employee has posted to the blog. In this application, it's strongly suggested that a Recent Comments sidebar link list be used, so users can click-select any comment that seems interesting, and go right to it.

Blogs are ideal for two-way conversation, or for information interaction. Even if it's not technically a "conversation", still there generally needs to be interaction with the message or information. There usually needs to be the availability of questioning, supplementing, updating, or revising the information from the user side.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

+ + +


odeo, evan williams, beta, by invitation

Here's what Evan Williams, creator of Blogger and now Odeo podcasting service, has to say on the re(cent) re{lease} of beta Odeo to inv_ited subscribers.

(I_am_one of the 11,000 invited to test Odeo beta, and this is a very exciting project to be on.)

Odeo is 'Listen. Sync. Create.' po'd[cas-ting.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Mmm, dogfood

Scoble is giving me crap for not eating my own dogfood, because I'm making podcast tools and don't have a podcast. Two responses:

1) The biggest part of Odeo, and what we've spent the most time on, and what we're releasing first, is the directory and subscription piece, of which I am a daily user.

2) You're right, I need a podcast. I've created several things, but they're not publicly available. I'm a very big believer in eating the dogfood. I'm just the CEO, but everyone in the company should do it.

Lastly, you don't have to know me to and get a personal invite to Odeo. We sent 11,000 out so far to people who signed up on the site. (We're not sending any more at the moment, cuz we're busing processing feedback and fixing things.)

posted by Ev. at 6/27/2005


Also see:

How Odeo Evan Williams

New York Times article on Odeo

Odeo Podcast Service
by Phillip Torrone

Odeo flickr photos

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

+ + +

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Final Warning to All Bloggers

This is my Final Warning to All Bloggers: remove the comment spam and trackback spam on your blogs.

If you don't, here's what will happen...

You and your blog will be put on a "Shun List" of Spam Friendly-User Hostile Blogs.

I will post a list of lazy, stupid bloggers who permit Comment Spam and Trackback spam to sit in their blogs, whom I have warned and complained to--yet they do nothing.

I repeat:

Your blog will be listed as a Spam Friendly-User Hostile Blog.

I will destroy your reputation, your credibility, your business.

You asked for ignoring pleas to remove the spam.

Spam is Bad, you idiot!

How many times do I have to say this?....

...comment spam and trackback spam
will quickly destroy your credibility
and drive traffic away from your blog.

You must be brain dead, or a criminal yourself,
if you don't monitor your blogs for this crap.

Here's the Scenario

(1.) You google a word, or get a Gmail alert, or see an interesting blog in some blogroll, or otherwise decide to check out a blog.

(2.) You visit the blog.

(3.) You're thrilled with how cool it is. Informative. Authoritative. Helpful.

(4.) A particular post catches your eye. Interesting.

(5.) You feel you have something of value to contribute to the post.

(6.) You click-select the Post A Comment function.

(7.) Suddenly the previous comments appear above the comment text entry box.

(8.) COMMENT SPAM--pornographic, pharmaceutical, other con artist or dubious or malicious remarks, with URLs attached to lure you to a malicious site--like a spyware, Trojan, virus attaching site--or simply a site trying to sell you dubious items.

(9.) You post a comment: "Please remove this comment spam above this comment."

(10.) You email the blogger and politely inform him or her about the problem.

(11.) Blogger ignores both your comment posted and your email.

(12.) RESULT: the scumbags win again.

No Excuses for Blog Spam

I'm damn sick and tired of corporate BS and stupid bloggers.

I don't want to hear any more excuses as to why you don't have time to clean up your blog.

Then quit blogging and delete your blogs from the blogosphere, you fool.

You are putting blog visitors at risk. Comment spam and trackback spam can destroy computers and networks. It boosts the search engine ranking of malicious sites.

I'm tired of explaining all this shit to retards.

Screw you if you permit spam to sit on your blog.

I don't care who you think you are.

You had better figure out how to prevent and/or delete spam from your blogs.

There are blacklists, whitelists, captchas, email notifications of comments posted (so you can see in your inbox what all the comments are, and can quickly go to the blog and delete them), comment moderation with delayed comment posting, many other methods. Some cost nothing.

Have a nice day.

It may be one of your last nice days ever.

I will post a list of blogs and bloggers who allow comment spam and trackback spam to remain on their blogs...and who display sleazy sponsored links.

I will post this list, and circulate the list throughout the blogosphere, and post it at the highest traffic and most influential blogs.

Consider yourself warned.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Google Earth: search engine for your planet

"earth at night" from Google Earth

[See UPDATE EDIT at bottom of post]

Being an fanatic Googlephile, I must command you now to check this out please: Google Earth--your 3D Interface with the planet you live on.

I have prophesied that soon people will interact with the External World via blogs and personal computers. We will be able to change, modify, do things to the "real world" while poking at our laptops, wrist puters, puter medallions, and PCs.

The negative side is stupid "virtual hunting" where you mercilessly, needlessly, barbarically kill an innocent brother or sister animal via your computer linked to a rifle in some other location. Idiotic senseless violence.

But positive manipulations will also be forthcoming.

This prophecy of mine regarding External World Interaction via Personal/Wearable Computers... coming true with all the force and velocity of an astral nuclear locomotive.

This is so exciting, I'm just copying and pasting the material from:

Google Earth

[NOTE: The response has been so great, the server had to take a breather.]


Google Earth – Explore, Search and Discover

Want to know more about a specific location? Dive right in -- Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips.

Fly from space to your neighborhood.

Type in an address and zoom right in.

Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels.

Get driving directions.

Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings.

Save and share your searches and favorites. Even add your own annotations.

Google Earth products [ product comparison chart ]
Google Earth

Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop.

View exotic locales like Maui and Paris as well as points of interest such as local restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more.

• Get Google Earth (it's free)
• Learn more

Google Earth Plus

Google Earth Plus is an optional upgrade adding GPS device support, the ability to import spreadsheets, drawing tools and better printing.

Google Earth Pro

For professional and commercial uses, Google Earth Pro is the ultimate research, presentation and collaboration tool for location information.

Google Earth Enterprise Solutions are also available for on-site deployment of custom Google Earth databases in your enterprise.


[UPDATE EDIT Wed. June 29 9:20 PM CST USA]

I cannot access the download of Google Earth, due to excessive traffic at the site, but I may not be able to use it anyway. I, like the vast majority of computer users, have a dial-up internet connection.

Here are the system requirements, from the Google Earth info page:


The Google Earth client requires certain system configurations in order to run smoothly.

Minimum configuration:

* Operating system: Windows 2000, Windows XP
* CPU speed: Intel® Pentium® PIII 500 MHz
* System memory (RAM): 128MB
* 200MB hard-disk space
* 3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 16MB VRAM
* 1024x768, 32-bit true color screen
* Network speed: 128 kbps ("Broadband/Cable Internet")

Recommended configuration:

* Operating system: Windows XP
* CPU speed: Intel® Pentium® P4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
* System memory (RAM): 512MB
* 2GB hard-disk space
* 3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 32MB VRAM or greater
* 1280x1024, 32-bit true color screen
* Network speed: 128 kbps ("Broadband/Cable Internet")



[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Personal Attacks on Me are Welcome Here

personal attacks against me are fine and dandy here

What Happened

I just got told to not launch "personal attacks" on a blog.

In a comment, I had written: "Another stupid remark..."

This calling a remark "stupid" was considered a "personal attack".

I was asked not to call a person or a statement "stupid".

I said "okay".

My Policy Re: Personal Attacks Against Me

Now I want you all to please listen up.

You have my permission to call me "stupid".

You have my permission to call any of my statements "stupid".

If you think I said something stupid, or if you think that I am in general stupid, please feel free to state your opinion.

I will be more disappointed if you remain silent and keep your opinions to yourself.

A Seemingly Abusive Comment That Was Really Helpful To Me

I once posted an artwork that I thought was all mystical and profound and such.

This was at my Art Test Explosion blog.

I got this comment: "This looks like a diseased [part of body where the birds don't fly and the sun doesn't shine]."

Did I get mad? Did I delete the "abusive comment"? Did I consider a harsh statement about my artwork to be a "personal attack" against me as a person?


But I did delete the artwork along with the accompanying comment. But it was because I agreed with the comment.

As I gazed at that specific artwork, I felt the comment was correct. Was this comment harsh? No.

Was it vulgar? Yes, in the language used, but it got my attention more than a softer expression would have.

I may not have used the same word [which I deleted here for reasons of taste and polite society], but this comment was helpful to me.

This shocking but sincere comment caused me to look at the art through the eyes of another person.

Perhaps many visitors saw the artwork in this way, but were too timid to express their perception. I was so happy that the person expressed his reaction so vividly.

Sometimes soft speech sucks.

Sometimes "diplomacy" is cowardly and ineffective.

Sometimes harsh is good.

I've had people be sarcastic, angry, crude, and bitter in comments to my blogs.

But I've never considered, so far, any comments to be hateful or crazy. I learn a lot from harsh criticisms. Only crybabies fear harsh comments.

So, without passing judgement on the blogger who asked me to not call people or statements "stupid", I want to state my policy here.

Call me "stupid" if you think I am. Maybe sometimes I do act or talk stupidly. If I hear about it, then I can correct myself and be smarter.

Remember, truly stupid people don't think they're stupid, which is why they're so stupid.

Please avoid really vulgar expressions, racism, sexism, and other really Hate Speech statements that are only designed to harm, hurt, damage, or stir up needless trouble.

But don't worry about my feelings. I don't have any. I'm a blog zombie. Ha! Just jesting (joking).

Now I'll shut up and wait to hear from YOU.

What do you think?

What's your opinion about harsh comments?

How do you define "abusive comments"?

Have you ever deleted any comments on your blog?

Have you ever been scolded for posting a harsh comment?

Have you ever been banned from a site due to your comments?

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Monday, June 27, 2005

Blogosphere Not Safe for MSMers

blogosphere not safe for MSM

MSMers--our bloggy women-folk will eat you alive!

--my favorite quote from myself today.

I've been inspired and impressed by one of our strong Womenfolk Bloggers, if she won't mind me using the American pioneer terminology. Let me set up the scenario first. Then you'll see how cool this is.

It seems that my blogs are becoming Running Commentaries on The Red Couch/Naked Conversations blog of Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Maybe I should shut down my blogs, and just refer you all to my comments over there. Their posts, plus the comments of me, Jeremy C. Wright, Neville Hobson, Yvonne DiVita, Toby Bloomberg, et al, maybe that's all we really need to round out the Blogosphere.

The MSM Main/Morbid Stream Media wankers seem to hate that word "blogosphere". They see it as "blog sphere of influence" which is competitive and combative with their rickety rackety old MSM of newspaper, television, radio, and other crap nobody trusts anymore.

Okay...there's an interview with Rich Levin, who tries to bash blogs, bloggers, and the blogosphere...within a blog about blogging in the blogosphere...!

A comedy of errors.

Whenever an MSM advocate wades into the blogosphere, we always drown them in ironic comments, laughter, and "sharp tongued" facts. Truly, defending mainstream journalism is a losing proposition.

And Yvonne DiVita tackled an MSMer, knocked the hype out of him, and defeated some dangerous misconceptions about blogs and journalism...single handedly. I'm a blogo-combat veteran of many wars, and I have to tell you: this lady can kick some serious blog butt.

Yvonne's blog is Lipsticking:

Here is Yvonne DiVita's comment, then mine, as posted in response to Rich Levin.

Read the interview remarks by Rich Levin at:

[QUOTE by Yvonne DiVita]

Only one comment -- in response to bloggers as journalists, and I quote: "That said, bloggers talk about becoming more like journalists, but they will never be journalists until they conduct their reporting using the same unvarnished methods as the greats (Murrow, Woodward & Bernstein, etc.). As long as they're interviewing via e-mail or IM, the final product is compromised [NOTE: I interviewed Levin by e-mail after he offered to do it by phone]. As long as they remain mired in the pool of opinion, the final product is compromised."

Puh-lease! Do not expect us to believe that Murrow, Woodward & Bernstein did not EDIT whenever and wherever they chose. Or, if they did not, their editors did. No not purport to say that blogger journalists who take their writing seriously are any less professional than a WSJ writer, or a NY Times writer, or some flunky from USA Today who gets paid big bucks to deliver WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS!

Bloggers, those who are transparent, authentic, and true to their writing, are heads and shoulders above all other reporters who have gone before us. When the news reporting in this country is so controlled by the $$$ of big business (as you know it is), the ONLY place to get the truth is in the blogosphere. Because we police our own.

Murrow, Woodward & Bernstein would have LOVED blogging. Personal opinion notwithstanding, bloggers are eager to share news, good or bad, about them or the topic they're writing about -- as for being mired in the pool of opinion; read the New Yorker sometime. Now, there's a magazine mired in opinion.

Posted by: Yvonne DiVita | June 27, 2005 11:06 AM

[END QUOTE by Yvonne DiVita]

[QUOTE by Steven Streight]

Rich: are you sure you fully understand blogs?

You don't seem to put much focus on the comments function of blogs.

You don't seem to realize how the blog could be the salvation of one of the most despised classes of society: the CEO.

You don't seem to understand how bloggers are changing the world, including impact on the European Union, the Ukraine Orange Revolution, etc.

Where was the MSM during the Iraq elections? Sleeping mostly. Or like CNN, broadcasting old footage of Iraqis mourning the dead from a terrorist attack that had happened quite a while prior. Thus: lying to emphasize the negative.

MSM: the Morbid Stream Media that obsessive-compulsively reports on how many AMERICAN SOLDIERS were killed today, ignores Iraqi casualties, and ignores the schools and hospitals up and running.

No--we're not getting our news from Dan Rather (rather not be truthful), but from Glenn Reynolds and Dean Esmay and Atrios and the timely J-bloggers.

I think you overlooked the value of blogs being the first universal publishing system in history, a medium open to any human being with a computer and internet access, open to the average person.

Blogs are the democratization of web content.

This rant reminds me of how Alexander Graham Bell, no idiot, is said to have thought that the telephone, his own invention, would be used only for sporadic news updates and music concert broadcasts.

The phone rings. Just another news update, or symphony. Let's skip it.

Wake up, friend. The Revolution Will Be, Is Being, Blogged, and NOT Televised.

Ha ha ha.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 27, 2005 12:24 PM

P.S. Even our Bloggy Women-folk are "sharp tongued" and ready to pounce, ala Yvonne go, sister! I've never liked you as much as I do today.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 27, 2005 12:33 PM

[END QUOTE by Steven Streight]

Our bloggy women-folk will eat you alive, MSMer.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Why CEOs Will Not Blog

Why Not Blog? (photo: cahilus)

The hype and hysteria of "business blogging" is about dead.

The benefits of blogging are falling on deaf business ears.

This alone is cause for alarm and should cause us to ponder.

You see, the problem is not with blogs. The problem, like I've said repeatedly, is with business.

While many are scratching their heads over "Why Not Blog?", I think the answer is perfectly clear.


Businesses, CEOs, corporations are afraid of looking as stupid as some of them are, afraid of saying something that could result in legal or competitive trouble, and afraid of negative reader comments.

CEOs are NOT afraid of downsizing, robbing pension funds, bloated compensation packages, reducing employee insurance benefits, bypassing unions with "supplemental employees", de-prioritizing customer service, or offshore outsourcing of vital services.

But maybe this is why they fear the vengeful backlash, the "sharp-tongued" comments, that may occur in CEO or employee blogs.

Here's what Lisa Poulson of Burson-Marsteller had to say recently in "What Do Corporations Want?" of May 2005 in Guide Wire:


....During the panel, we talked a bit about why corporations are reticent to move into the blogosphere. In the interest of fostering mutual understanding, here are three things companies worry about:

--Liability – in our litigious business environment, any public utterance by any corporate representative is fair game for a combative lawyer. This is no small concern. Open-minded in-house lawyers and persistent corporate PR people are working it out one conference call at a time, but this struggle will take place at every corporation.

--Love – companies are filled with people, and no person likes to see the product they make, the policy they create or the opinions they share lambasted in public by a sharp-tongued blogger. If it’s the blogosphere vs. THE MAN, people at corporations know they’re battling a stereotype, and that’s daunting.

--Scaling – the blogosphere is about conversations. No corporation has the staff to conduct quality 1:1 conversations with everyone in the blogosphere who may want to communicate with them. They don’t know how much energy and commitment quality participation in the blogosphere will take; jumping in half-way may be worse than not jumping in at all . . .

Having said all of this, the corporate PR people I’ve spoken with understand there is much to gain from participating.

The hurdles are significant however, and corporations need help crossing them. They need clear, thorough analysis of what’s going on in the blogopshere that impacts them.

They need sound guidance on policies. They need to study examples of corporations that successfully blog. They need to study examples of corporations who have made big fat mistakes. And they need to have this information presented to them by people who understand what life is like inside their organizations. Then they’ll get there.

--Lisa Poulson
Managing Director, Technology Practice
Burson-Marsteller San Francisco

Posted by Lisa Poulson at May 25, 2005 08:49 AM


Now let's look briefly at these three points.

(1.) Liability:

That's funny. Richard Edelman, Mark Cuban, Robert Scoble, Bob Lutz, Jonathan Schwartz, and many other CEOs or corporate representatives are blogging. Why aren't they worried about this? They surely have considered litigation, but have good legal teams to clear the way. I consider this a serious concern, but not that big of a hurdle.

(2.) Love:

Please look at this statement closely--

"...companies are filled with people, and no person likes to see the product they make, the policy they create or the opinions they share lambasted in public by a sharp-tongued blogger. If it’s the blogosphere vs. THE MAN, people at corporations know they’re battling a stereotype, and that’s daunting."

I'm sure my Personal Blog allies and fans are laughing their heads off at the stupidity and cowardice displayed in this attitude of corporations.

Sharp-tongued bloggers and comment posters prevail throughout the rough and tumble world of the blogosphere.

We like to tell it like it is, bluntly, just like CEOs do when they fire or lay off someone. This is rich, just funny as all get out. Picture a CEO cowering in a corner, scared of sharp-tongued bloggers "lambasting" their integrity, ethics, or products. LOL

"blogosphere vs. THE MAN"?

No, try this: blogosphere vs. insincerity, "don't worry, be crappy" (ship shoddy, then issue upgrades and 2.0 versions), lies, cruelty, mediocrity, opacity, immorality.

"battling a stereotype"?

How so? It's not that rare for corporations to screw employees and customers. Must I rattle off the list of unethical giant corporations that have been in the news lately? Enron was just the tip of the iceberg about to sink the Titanic USA, the ship of state they thought could not be sunk.

CEOs are among the most hated groups in American society, according to some public opinion polls.

Bloggers and comment posters, in most cases, are not "battling a stereotype". They're the Socratic gadflies, buzzing about, bothering the arrogant, ivory tower business leaders who thought their dream world would never end.

(3.) Scaling

I'm going to weep if this doesn't stop. The poor CEOs, too busy to blog correctly and adequately. Scared to take risks, to jump in, to take the plunge, though the water's fine.

Aren't CEOs supposed to have some entrepreneurial spirit, somewhere deep inside?

"No corporation has the staff to conduct quality 1:1 conversations with everyone in the blogosphere who may want to communicate with them."

Poor CEOs. Poor corporate staff. Well, they better figure out how to reply to a few comments daily, and to general topic threads, or their competitors will leave them in the ancient dust of their outmoded propaganda machines.

Blogs are the New PR, the New Advertising, the New Public Platform for getting a message out. They better wise up fast.

The Real Problem

Too many businesses cannot sign off on the 9 Core Values of Blogging.

That's the sad but simple truth.

Candid, two-way conversations with real customers?

Too risky for those CEOs who are dubious dictators, secret incompetents, and apathetic/arrogant figureheads.

Ethical, sincere, wise, compassionate CEOs should start blogs.

The rest should stay the hell out of the blogosphere. We'd eat them alive and burp out their lies.

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Your Blog is a Weave in the Web

your blog is a weave in the web

Jakob Nielsen, the world's leading expert on web usability, often refers to the web as a single unit, a single public utility, a single digital entity.

Others also refer to the web as a unit. They say the web is broken, or the web empowers people, or surf the web.

I usually tend to think of individual web sites, not the web as a whole. I can analyze a specific web site, but there are many aspects of the web itself that I don't understand as well as I wish I did.

I tend to think of individual blogs, not a cumulative blogosphere, though I often speak of "the blogosphere", or, as I like to call it, the "bloatosphere". I respond to specific blogs, and not so much to the whole blogosphere as a "world within the web".

Do you feel awareness of a "location" within the web called the "blogosphere"? Do you feel awareness of a "location" within the internet called the "web"?

At any rate, your blog, if you have one (and you should have one, especially since they're FREE from Blogger)...

...your blog is a weave in the world wide web.

Your blog truly is a part of a larger digital information entity, and it makes a unique contribution to the universal library of human knowledge and opinion.

How valuable that contribution is depends on the quality of your writing, the wisdom of your opinions, the accuracy of your statements, the enthusiasm of your devotion, the compassion of your intent, and the authenticity of your voice.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Blog Passion and Taking a Break

Blog Core Values poster 1 (photo: sokak 83 by cahilus)

One of the nine (9) core values of blogging is Passion.

It's good to be dedicated, with a fire of enthusiasm, to whatever topic or issue or area of expertise you blog about.

Your passion could be self-expression, politics, philosophy, business, marketing, astronomy, social activism, ethical anarchy, web usability, religion, music, art, science fiction, or beer.

If you have a grand obsession, a glorious vision, a sense of destiny, a built-in leadership'll accomplish great things.

You care deeply about something that others generally dismiss or spend little time and effort on.

You may end up being a Visionary, Innovator, Inventor, Genius, Celebrity, or even a CEO (president of a company). Your passion, expressed in your blog and in your life, will take you There.

This is why I cannot understand why CEOs question "what would I blog about?" or "how can I be candid and transparent in a blog?"

If you're a CEO, you had better be passionate about more than bloated compensation and dictatorial power.

We expect you, as a CEO, to be passionate about solving problems for consumers via your excellant products. We expect you to have numerous anecdotes about your industry. We expect you to have interesting stories to tell about your career and how you acquired your expertise.

Whatever your blogging passion is, it's always good to shut down that computer, disconnect from the internet, and go outside.

It's good to get away from blogs, blogging, blogospheric explorations, for a while.

Spend some time in the garden. In the woods. In a homeless shelter. In a soup kitchen. In a nursing home. In a jazz club. In a theatre. In a church, mosque, temple, synagogue.

Break away from blogging once in a while.

Spend time with people. Walk a long distance for no reason at all.

Get outside and gaze at trees and buildings.

Refresh yourself.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Virtual Journey into Outer Space: InterPlaNet

interplanetary internet: beyond earth computer nets

Take a virtual journey into outer space via the InterPlaNet, beyond earth's computer nets.

COMING SOON to a computer near you!

Hello friends. Time to play catch up on a lot of topics I need to provide you with information on. One of those topics is the Extra-terrestial Computer Network project.

Yes, it's been way too long since I posted something about the Interplanetary Internet, also known as (aka)...


Briefly, it is a project that NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and the US Department of Defense, plus some private corporations and some universities, are now working on.

Dr. Vinton Cerf, the guy who invented TCP, the protocol or "language" that internet connected computers use to communicate with each other, to send information packets back and forth, and to verify the delivery of these packets, is one of the leaders.

The Interplanetary Internet will be used to connect earth-bound computers and networks, like the current Commodity Internet, Internet2, and others, with orbiting satellites around Mars, with space colonies on the moon and Mars, with space stations, with space shuttles, with space probes, and other extra-terrestial systems.

Some folks fear the nasty alien critters will listen in on us. But those bad guys from outer space have already listened, have decided we are stupid, crazy and violent, and are just waiting for us to destroy ourselves so they can move in later. Or something like that. I guess this paragraph belongs on my Cosmos Blogmos site.


Anyway, here's what I wanted to say to excite you: someday we'll be able to visit other planets, moons, stars, nebulae, comets, etc. via the InterPlaNet connected via the Next Generation Internet (Internet2 or Ultranet3, whatever exists at that time).

The internet you and I use now is primitive and slow.

The InterPlaNet will be faster, but based on sporadic connectivity and parcels of information, bundles, like a UPS package.

The parcel/bundle will be dropped off at a "gateway" site, which will then determine the best way to deliver it to Mars or wherever. Info bundles will be tracked, rather than back and forth communication like we have with TCP/IP connections.

Imagine going to your computer, laptop, cell phone, wrist-puter, puter-medallion, and actually viewing Mars, or the moon, in near real time. Fun is on its way.

You'll be an armchair astronaut. (Did I just invent another neologism?)

I'm going to stop here, because the topic is vast, and it gets really technical really fast.

Here are some links for you
to explore on your own
if you're interested...

" How Interplanetary Internet Will Work" at How Stuff Works

"The Interplanetary Internet" by Toby Howard
(orig. in Personal Computer World, November 1998)

Space Communications Protocol Standards

[intro paragraph from SCPS site]:

The goal of the Space Communications Protocol Standards (SCPS) project is to provide a suite of standard data handling protocols which (from a user viewpoint) make a remote space vehicle appear to be just another "node on the Internet".

Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems

If you're interested in network design and programming, consider this InterPlaNet as a career field.

It is the future of computing.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

space communications protocol standards (logo from their web site)


Friday, June 24, 2005

Watch ABC Nightline tonight

Watch ABC Nightline tonight for non-partisan discussion of humanitarian assistance to Africa.

This ONE/Live 8 and other related campaigns are definitely in keeping with the purposes advocated at Blog Core Values.

We can use blogs to attempt to change the world for the better. We need more Activist Bloggers.

Here is the email message I received from the ONE campaign today:


Are Americans ready for a campaign in which they don't have to pick a side?

TONIGHT, Pat Robertson and George Clooney tell America on ABC's "Nightline": there is only ONE side in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty. They'll ask viewers to join in signing a letter to President Bush to support an unprecedented debt, aid and trade deal for the world's poorest people at the upcoming G8 summit on July 6.

Will you join them and sign the ONE letter to President Bush today?

It's a weekend of ONE on the airwaves: Sunday, Bono of U2 goes on NBC's "Meet the Press" to discuss the potential for a real breakthrough in the fight against poverty at the G8. And Bob Geldof appears on CBS's "Sunday Morning" to talk about the Live 8 concerts and what they can do to help President Bush reach an historic agreement to help those most in need around the world.

As ONE, ending global AIDS and extreme poverty is a fight we can win: ONE million Americans are wearing the white band. Over 215,000 Americans have already signed the ONE letter, and next week, the President is expected to make a speech outlining his plans for the G8. Ask President Bush today to take the biggest step forward that he possibly can to make poverty history:

Please ask 3 friends and family members sign the ONE letter to President Bush.

Be sure to catch George Clooney and Pat Robertson tonight at 11:35pm/10:35pm Central on ABC's "Nightline". No matter who you vote for, whether you go to a church or mosque, or if you live in Hollywood or the Heartland, millions of us agree that as ONE we can reach across divides of politics, religion and music and do something extraordinary, together.


The ONE Team

P.S. NEWS FLASH: You've already seen Nelson Mandela on ONE.ORG talking about what the G8 can do - and because of your overwhelming response, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now making it possible for MILLIONS of people in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the UK to also hear his call to action - more news to come!

** As is always the case, please note breaking news may preempt these news programs.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Blog Comments Not Popular in Japan

So I'm reading an interview with Nob Seki, EVP, Six Apart-Japan, at The Red Couch blog (now with new name I cannot bear to repeat).

The person is talking about how comments are not enabled on many blogs in Japan, but trackbacks are acceptable.

Something about how it's considered rude to confront people directly. What a sad and pathetic nation of zombies, as far as I'm concerned. This anti-comment sentiment, and a reluctance to confront people directly, is disgusting to me.

I'm a very combative and blunt person. I also despise humans of any nationality or culture who bow down to any authority and sheepishly, unthinkingly follow the Leader, who is usually Blind.

Let's look at this issue very closely.

Here's what I discovered at The Red Couch...


Q: Trackback seems to be an even bigger deal in Japan than it is in the US? Why is that?

Trackback makes a very big difference in Japan. Companies find comments get very negative. People write nastier in comments than they do in Trackbacks. So companies don't allow comments but encourage Trackbacks.

Q: As time goes by, are comments becoming more acceptable in Japan?

No. These days, newspapers are covering the blogging phenomenon. Most coverage attributes the success of blogs to Trackback.

Q: What do you do about negative comments? This is a big issue among American businesses. How do people feel about turning off comments in Japan?

There's a lot of history about this in Japan.

In December 2003, Nifty Corp.—a Japanese ISP and a subsidiary of Fujitsu—became TypePad's first licensee worldwide.

Before Nifty introduced the blog service, Japan’s largest bulletin board—called Channel 2 – were very famous.

Channel 2 is very anonymous.

People write about anything, without saying who they are. It sometimes gets very nasty, sometimes used for criminal stuff—even once for a murder announcement. A teenager once announced a murder before he actually committed it.

Bulletin boards are chaos. They are mostly anonymous and people focus on the darkside because they can be anonymous.

When Nifty was about to introduce the blogging service, they hesitated to let the blog accept bad comments.

They didn't want blogs to have the same bad image as bulletin boards.

They decided to refrain from using any comments, but instead, asked people to use Trackback, because it is traceable.

Their blog is a success, in part, because the Trackbacks were less nasty than comments. Plus people start their own blogs so that they could make comments on other blogs.

Nifty showed other companies how they could use blogs, because they want in on the conversations that are going on over the Internet.

Recruit is a magazine publishing company who decided to use Movable Type for newly introduced magazine websites because it was easier. Some people at Recruit had personal blogs. They learned that Trackback generated better quality comments.

Senior people were afraid of nasty Trackbacks and warned they would shut the blog down if that happened.

Instead, they got many positive quality comments. What started as just a small test, now has Recruit using Trackback for every magazine issue.


Q: What makes TrackBack so appealing in Japan?

Trackback is one way to communicate with other people.

Comments are easier.

I'm not sure why TB is so popular, but many Japanese people think about Trackback as something different [from comments]. Trackback makes the blog different from the web or [other ordinary] Internet marketing.

The online diary in Japan is also interesting to me. Even though these are diaries, they are using Trackbacks. Trackback is one way to communicate.

Why do diaries need Trackbacks? I use comments because they are easy and straighforward.

Japanese people feel more offended than American people when you get comments. That’s why I guess Trackbacks get more popular than comments. It may be cultural things.

Japanese are not so good at listening to opposing opinions.

Japanese culture doesn't allow you to make direct negative comment because its impolite. I shouldn't talk directly to you. Trackback is indirect. Comment is very direct. Maybe, this is why Trackbacks are so appealing to Japanese people.

Posted by shel israel on June 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:

[My Confrontational & Rude COMMENT]

Ah, this is simply Japanese Mind Control.

When a corporation or an individual fears and hates negative feedback, it makes you wonder what the entity is doing to attract such negativity.

To say "If too many negative comments or trackbacks, we'll shut the blog down" is a typical paranoid corporate attitude enforced by severe conformity.

From ancestor worship to CEO worship is no big leap.

Mind Control, wanting no negative feedback, not allowing dissent, forbiding confrontation, outlawing independent opinions, disallowing free expression.

Sure, they point to anonymous bulletin boards. Well, our American gaming forums, political blogs, and even web usability sites can be the recipients of much abusive input from psycho readers.

Yet, few American blogs have disabled comments.

With Blogger, comment spam, abusive comments, flame wars, chat roomy private reader conversations, and other inappropriate input is easily and swiftly eliminated.

Interns can handle the cleaning and monitoring of blogs.

I've seen tons of Trackback Spam on blogs. Filthy, abusive, crazy, exploitive, druggy, etc. trackback spam.

So trackback without user comments is not a valid solution to comment spam, abuse, trolling, baiting, or flaming.

Why is there no mention of comment moderation, delayed posting, captchas, site registration, and other methods of negative input prevention?

And what do these stuffy Japanese companies consider "negative" commentary? Anything critical, questioning, non-conformist?


Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 23, 2005 06:10 PM

[END QUOTE from The Red Couch blog]

"Japanese are not so good at listening to opposing opinions."

Now, how is this any different from Communist, Islamic, Nazi, Fascist, Christian Right, Liberal Left, or any other kind of brainwashing and enforced conformity?

I hate Christian mind control, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Marxist, Capitalist, Socialist, Atheist...any kind of coerced belief system and social stigmatization of dissent.

How can any nation be proud that there is no division, no opposing party, no independent thinking, no free expression, no public debate, no right to differ, no liberty to question...

...and no comments on blogs?

The Anti-Comment trend is really disturbing, especially when you see entire nations, even US allies, supposed "democracies" repressing blogs and blog comment functions.

I hate all cultures where "respect" for elders and worship of ancestors leads to perpetuation of empty traditions, protection of outmoded institutions, thought policing, suppression of contrarian viewpoints, and fear of the Powers That Pretend To Be.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Live 8: rise up against suffering and poverty

Posted by Hello

Live 8 is a strike against poverty in Africa.

Blog-tracker Technorati is promoting participation in the Live 8 program of The Long Walk to Justice.

I have signed on to the proclamation requesting the G8 nations to:

* cancel debt

* double aid

* enpower trade justice

...for the world's poorest nations.

The governments have mismanaged the aid they have received, they are not doing enough to protect religious freedom and freedom of speech, but the populations are suffering while their governments mock them.

In one African nation, the current tyrant is bulldozing down houses of entire villages of suspected opposition.

BEYOND Live 8's Financial Remedy:

Therefore, I also privately demand:

the populace of any countries

exploited by rogue regimes,

the citizens must immediately

rise up against oppressors,

boycott and demonstrate against

the repressive political enslavement,

shut down the government offices,

clog the capital,

change the government

into an equal rights,

free speech democracy.

These rogue dictators have already

squandered massive amounts of aid,

and pouring more money into such regimes

will only increase the power of the tyrants.

[QUOTE from Technorati Live 8]

What is Live 8?

Live 8 is a series of concerts and events across the world which are being staged to highlight the problem of global poverty. It's a chance for ordinary people to call on world leaders at this year's G8 summit and tell them to put a stop to the needless deaths of 30,000 children every single day.

On 6th July 2005, the leaders of Great Britain, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia will meet at Gleneagles in Scotland to talk about world affairs, including Africa. They will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and make trade laws fair.

The G8 summit is our opportunity to demand that the world's most influential leaders take action now.

Live 8 has organised concerts in Philadelpia, Berlin, London, Rome, Paris and Edinburgh, with 100 artists, a million spectators, two billion viewers and one message: Make Poverty History.



For more information, see:

Technorati Live 8

http://www.live8live. com


Group of 8


White Band Days

Show your support on July 1st,

by wearing a white band.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Who Should NOT Blog?

action forbidden Posted by Hello

It's being asked on
The Red Couch blog of
Shel Israel and Robert Scoble,

what companies should not consider
blogs [as communications tools]?

I posted this comment there:

Who Should Not Blog?

A blog is more efficient, as an online content platform, than a conventional static corporate fluff web site for communicating candidly with a target audience...

...due to frequent communications (posts), intimate tone, and swift, easy user-interaction with the posts via comments and email to the blog author(s).

Thus, who should not blog

would include:

* those who do not wish to hear from customers, users, the public

* those who do not wish the populace to have the liberty to speak freely on religion, politics, business, social issues, democracy, militarism, and personal tastes

* those who cannot respond swiftly and sincerely to all varieties of user comments, good, bad, indifferent, bizarre, complimentary, deeply questioning, potentially embarrasssing

* those who do not wish to act in consistent compliance with authenticity, credibility, relevance, integrity, originality, passion, sincerity, honesty, practicality

* those who make things worse via intimate confessional-information formats

* those who fear the level ideascape of the democratized blogosphere: where every opinion is equal

* those who prefer hiearchies of informational "authority" and journalistic elitism (e.g., MSM)

* those who only wish to say "Buy my product" and only wish to hear "Love your product".

* those who aren't passionate and aggressive enough to frequently have something interesting and helpful to say

* those who cannot say much that is not better left unsaid, classified, or clandestine

* those who cannot spend the required time to blog properly

* those who do not care about interacting with the blogsophere by reading and commenting at other blogs

* those whose strategy embraces arrogance, exploitation, deception, manipulation, false advertising, or consumer fraud

* those who wish to force the old marketing and business schemes of hard sell hype, corporo-centric viewpoints, unilateral broadcast messaging, and static, non-interactive propagandizing on the alien-to-business-as-usual blogosphere.

[comment posted to The Red Couch blog of Robert Scobe and Shel Israel]


[Comment I posted, again at The Red Couch, in response to another reader's posted comment, asking if some organizations should ask if they can afford to be "transparent" and if some have serious concerns about sensitive, potentially damaging leaks of sensitive information.]

Just use the same procedures for use of corporate email, fax, etc. Blogs are no different as far as potential for leaking sensitive info. Happens in cocktailed conversations at conferences too.

I think there is a grave danger thinking "only" or "primarily" defense contractors, nuclear power providers, explosive material manufacturers, governments, etc. have sensitive, secret info that must be protected.

Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in history, and is nearly impossible to thwart or bring perpetrators to justice. Thanks to banks and credit card companies, and their *outsourced* fulfillment operations, not implementing proper safeguards.

Personal, private, exploitable information--medical, employment, telephone, financial, legal, physical location, etc.--must be severely limited or avoided completely in all blogs.

So every teenager to every CEO has to be concerned with sensitive non-bloggable information.

Non-bloggable defined per each specific blogger.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 23, 2005 11:57 AM

your feedback makes the blogosphere go round Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Good Enough is Bad

Seth Godin has posted another provocative essay titled: The seduction of "good enough"

Here's how it begins...


But here's the deal: almost everything is lousy.

Sure, it's way way better than it was. Sure it's a miracle.

But is anything as good as it could be?


... here are my two big ideas to start:

1. Humans tend to work on a problem until they get a good enough solution, instead of a solution that's right.

2. The marketplace often rewards solutions that are cheaper and good enough, instead of investing in the solution that promises to lead to the right answer.




"Hate your blog, then improve it."

We have to learn how to hate things, hate how they are.

See what they could be.

What they could be, but aren't,
because of what they've been made to be.
We generally do nothing unless we absolutely love and crave, or hate and attack.

Hate a problem so much, you actually get up and do something about solving it.

Hate war so much, you try to be peaceful and encourage others to be gentle, even to ants of the sidewalk.

Hate politics so much, you try to model for others how to question and think for oneself.

Everything is less, far less than what it could be.

This includes you, me, everyone and everything.

Even our lofty ideals are either boring, deliberately absurd, or quarantined and sequestered from present reality.

The war against mediocrity is the same as the conflict with other dysfunctionalities. It is endless and more difficult each day.

But fight we must.

Mediocrity, the "good enough", is always bad.

Would you want a "superior" surgeon, or merely one that is "adequate" and "competent", or simply claims to be "qualified"?

Would you want supremely safe food and water, or would you tolerate "moderately safe", or even "somewhat questionable"?

Constantly improve your blog.

your blog represents you.

you see you in the blogmirror.

Keep enhancing, focusing,
increasing the brilliance
of your blog,

improve your blogging:

thus your thinking, which
equals your mind, i.e.,

your self, that which bears
your name, represented in
signatures, your life,

that energy you have on loan
for a little while.

[signed} Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Monday, June 20, 2005

Webs for World Progress started today

Webs for World Progress logo 2. Photo: Anita Patterson "window light"

webs for world progress logo 1

My new blog may be encountered at:

Webs for World Progress

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Against Fictional Character Blogs...again

Against Fictional Character Blogs...again (photo: Clarita of Rome, Italy NBT 005)

Against Fictional Character Blogs...again.

Welcome to the topic someone won't let die. I've posted on this topic in the past: see "Kill the Talking Moose Blog".

Odds are, we've all moved well beyond this.

Blogs are ideally, have been created explicitly for, Intimate Honest Communications Between Two Real Human People.

Not between a brand and a customer.

Not between a marketing strategy and a consumer.

Not between an imaginary brand personification device and a shopper.

A blog can build trust.

A fictional character may entertain, but companies don't need laughter, they need sales.

Two Comments I Recently Made
Over at The Red Couch Blog
(now: Naked Conversations)

Streight Comment #1

For a company to seek to position itself as a reliable expert, then use a ficitional character as a spokesperson, this is beyond stupid.

A fictional character lies about pretended adventures that did not occur, and in the process of this confusion and irrelevance, recommends great recipes "discovered" in his "travels", when there was no discovery, there was no travel.

And this is to create confidence in the brand?

Misguided from the start, a poor installation in the blogosphere, violating Authenticity, Transparency, Integrity.

Credibility of organization is decreased vastly.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 18, 2005 11:35 PM

Streight Comment #2

Maybe it's just me, but I can't bring myself to trust, or pay any attention to, a person who does not exist, who is quite outspoken, while those who do exist, who I want to hear from, who are actually qualified, natural, and creating the brand...are silent.

Do I want to get close to you...or a caricature of you?

Why would a fun caricature with popularity be of greater value to a brand than an authentic person with sincerity?

A fantasy character is a pseudo-simulacrum, a mis-representation, a swerving from the heart of the matter, unless you're selling fantasy worlds, fictional characters, or unreal products.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 19, 2005 01:32 PM

Fictional Character Blogs:
caricatures of what blogs can be

When I really think about it, it seems like a Fictional Character Blog is like a Robot Pre-recorded Telemarketer, or a Mass Mailed Sales Letter...

...a disconnect.

Not a "fun" way to connect, but an annoying way to disconnect company from customer.

An FC Blog is actually a caricature, a mockery of what a blog can be: a two way interactive conversation between an two real living human beings.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Read Books to Improve Your Blog Writing

read books (photo Anita Patterson)

The conversation around the tea table of Fernande [Picaso] was not lively, nobody had anything to say. It was a pleasure to meet, it was even an honour, but that was about all. Fernande complained a little that her charwoman had not adequately dusted and rinsed the tea things, and also that buying a bed and a piano on the installment plan had elements of unpleasantness. Otherwise we really none of us had much to say.

...her elder brother once remarked, I do not know whether Gertrude has more genius than the rest of you all, that I know nothing about, but one thing I have always noticed, the rest of you paint and write and are not satisfied and throw it away or tear it up, she does not say whether she is satisfied or not, she copies it very often but she nevers throws away any piece of paper upon which she has written.

--Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas(1933)


LESSON FOR BLOGGERS: How To Write in a Reserved, Detached Manner

What can we as bloggers learn from just these two separate sections of text by Gertrude Stein?

A lesson in aloof writing, as an antidote for tendency to gush forth emotionally, oblivious to the risk of sounding "too excited", "narcissistic hedonism", "too entangled on a personal level".

She wrote this book Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas as though she was not herself, but someone who often talked of her, someone else, a friend, name of Alice. And not just anything by Alice, a detective mystery or romance novel, a book of poems, no, none of that: instead, a spurious, unauthorized, pseudo-autobiography, that is labeled an actual "autobiography."

Did you know, or suspect, it was this complex? Before the text even begins, the title is a, well, it's an Error.

The title Deconstructs the story, you must pretend, along with the author, that this Alice who speaks in the autobiography she did not write herself, this Alice is an approximation of the real Alice, whilst knowing much or all of it could be pure fancy, not even remotely based on the actual Alice.

How would this be like a Fictional Character Blog?

A Ghost Blog?

A paid "word of mouth" buzz agent infiltrating blog comments, online forums, bulletin boards, and discussion lists, posing as a regular customer, pretending to have purshased, used, and thus, heartily recommend, a product?

What I Like About The Writing...

What I like is how cold, detached, icy, frozen, scientifically barren this writing is.

Instead of writing, as I might have written, and in fact must now write, "...buying a bed and a piano on the installment plan was an outrageous annoyance, driving her nearly crazy with all the forms and questions, going here, then going over there, meeting with this person, sitting in the office of that person, feeling mortified at being reduced to having to buy something in this ignoble manner, so close to begging, this commercialized borrowing mixed with gradual ownership via a sequential, incremental payment system."

...Stein instead pens this aloof, restrained description: "...buying a bed and a piano on the installment plan had elements of unpleasantness."

This is so bland, it shines with genius.

"elements of unpleasantness" can conjure up a whole range of more rugged images, ugly statements uttered, shame-based reactions, contorted facial expressions.

Your friend asks, "How was your first day at the coal mine?"

You say, "While I'm happy to have the job, the work itself had some elements of unpleasantness."

Try taking an emotional sentence you've written, and tone it down to reflect zero emotion.

NOT: "This is a hideously, insanely stupid idea that will ruin us..."

BUT: "This is not an idea most prudent and pragmatic persons would likely embrace..."

Great, classic authors, male and female, from all nations of the world, have much to teach us about writing.

Find an author you like, and ask yourself why you like this writer, and how their style has influenced or even shaped your own blog authoring style.

Do you sometimes reflect one great influence, and at other times reflect the influence of another? Who are they?

I like Marcel Proust, Kafka, Rilke, Hemingway, Poe, James Thurber, John Updike, Will Self, Hawthorne, Twain, Dickens, Maurice Blanchot, Alain Robbes-Grillet, Jean Rhys, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Derrida, Edith Wharton, and many others.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Edith Wharton. Blogs. Analysis.

ethan frome can teach bloggers much about writing: book cover design by lee wade, illustration by Judy Perderson

Edith Wharton teaches bloggers lessons in writing, if we read her from the blogological perspective.

What can a blogger learn from Edith Wharton?

edith wharton ocw mit edu

All classic authors can teach bloggers much.

From Edith Wharton:


Ethan Frome
begins suddenly, gets right to the point, and instills suspense from the first page, within the first few paragraphs.

No elaborate set up. No long-winded descriptions of scenary or clothing. No emotional musings. At least not yet, maybe not ever. Entering a mystery is a mysterious thing to do.

Due to my training, I press against and peer into the mystery of her textualizations, via a deconstructive evaluation, starting with the last paragraph (broken into chunks for easy reading) of her Introduction for, and then abruptly stopping only one paragraph into, plus fragments from a random page in, her famous novel Ethan Frome.

edith wharton Student Companion to

"I have written this brief analysis--the first I have ever published of any of my books--because, as an author's introduction to his work, I can imagine nothing of value to his readers except a statement as to why he decided to attempt the work in question, and why he selected one form rather than another for its embodiment.

These primary aims, the only ones that can be explicitly stated, must, by the artist, be almost instinctively felt and acted upon before there can pass into his creation that imponderable something more which causes life to circulate in it, and preserves it for a little from decay."

--Edith Wharton, from Introduction to Ethan Frome

ethan frome american literature com


by Edith Wharton (1911)

[1st paragraph]

I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.



Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome had a huge impact on me when I was a teenager.

Its bleached bleak cynicism existentially reverberating from start to finish, as its spare economy and severe spartan perspective glared out:

she quavered


crazy angles

change and freedom

little enclosure

continuance and stability

clutched his sleeve to steady

...are word chunks
pulled at random
from page 36, Collier paperback,
a few pages into Part II.

Edith proclaims a kind of

creative writing described in:

"this brief analyis"

"brief": spare and severe

"analyis": clinical, scientific, unsentimental

"nothing of value": i.e., mechanistic assessment of frivolities

"except a statement": what you give to a police officer, a court declaration, (stated-comment), a spoken, written, or dictated-to-be-written-by-another string of text, similar in some respects to a blog post

"why attempt the work": the joyless, super-constructivist aesthetic: a work is attempted, it starts as a possibility, then probability, into actuality, and finally crowned with the quality of infallible inevitability ("a Proust, and a Tolstoy, and a Dickens had to be born", the universe contained pre-existing Shakespeare, Mark Kostabi, John Cage, Freud, Einstein, and Hegel, and only historians of the future can say if it succeeded by still standing above other works (one assumes Edith expects more than a shallow, "I felt inspired to write it, it comes from one of my inner fantasty selves")

"why this form selected": the de-constructivist, post-structuralist today sees the form not as message but as message packaging on a more subliminal level than cover art. The packaging of the text by the way it's formated, typography, spacings, spelling conventions, word choice, presentation style or genre, tone, person, intended audience.

Edith goes on to say that the work and its form are felt inside the author, and neither are fussed about much, it just leaps out from within you.

She is cold, objective, rational, calculating, articulate, scientific...

...until you get to the "all these aims...explicitly stated...must also be almost instinctively felt and acted upon" to enable the "imponderable something" to magically "pass into his creation" and causes it to come alive, move and breathe and sometimes squash its creator under its triumphant feet.

The margin, boundry, demarcation separating "explicit" from "almost (?) instinctive".

The bursting forth of the uncontainable, the wild, the mischief of the unique and uncommon personality.

The blogger could read a few pages of a classic literature text, let the style and grandeur sink in, then write something of value, but spontaneously allowing thoughts to rush forth onto the page.

Edit and season as necessary.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Friday, June 17, 2005

ye shall astonish

ye shall astonish (photo inset by mensatic)

For law lovers and recovering anarchists...

for grandparents and nannies...

for every other type of person on earth...

step right up to view

a New Law of Blogging:

====ye shall ASTONISH====

If not, goodbye.

No, you're not going anywhere,

(if you aren't changing

all the time)

which is why we are.

Going somewhere, anywhere.

Else. Away.

I mean being "nowhere and thus

everywhere all the time"

like Mediocrity Itself

if there is such a Thing...

leaves one in the cold barren

unexplored because uninteresting

wasteland dumps of the bad

section of Blogo Town, the


blunderingly emboldened

by self-emblazonings.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

How To Astonish Your Blog Readers

outer reaches of whatness

Have you seen some pretty amazing web sites, blogs, video games, digital art, photo manipulations somewhere?

What did you like about them?

Were they typical?




"just nice"?

. . . . . . . . .or were they

? ? ? ASTONISHING ? ? ?

I bet they were astonishing, alarmingly superior in some way.

Like what ways?

(1.) Rich, relevant content, information you need and can USE NOW for good and fast results. (EXAMPLE: My suggestion to try posting comments as a way to contact a blogger, a faster, more effective message than emails. It worked for a reader who was kind enough to comment on his results using my self-invented Neo-Blogging Techniques.

(2.) Other stuff that is also outstandingly different, unusual, wild, strange, unfamiliar, interesting, fun, enlightening, instructive, inspiring, untiring, fascinating, educational, recreational, genius, practical, eye-opening, gut-wrenching...

"...sliding at high velocity
down the slippery slope
of the leading edge." -- Vaspers the Grate Slogan 2005

(3.) Written by a unique, colorful, bombastic, bizarre (but polite and pragmatic, not too strange, but odd enough to successfully handle other odd jobs, both people and assignments), fearless person, someone not afraid to be what they think and think about what they are, when they've got a spare second or two.

(4.) Inspirational.

You feel uplifted, refreshed, empowered.

You feel a little smarter.

You feel a little more creative.

You fell like doing something now.

Thanks to ... what?

The great, thought-provoking, authoritative, richly-linked, accurate factual, and brilliant analytical content.

Or the visual/graphic style in which it's presented, or the personality of the blogger shining through, almost blindingly.

You learn something new every time.

You could go on reading more and more articles, essays, and posts, and never really get bored or frustrated.

Frequent posting provides you with a powerfully flowing, uninterrupted river of facts, art, and consciousness... you something new to use, or agree with, or debate against, or add to your stock of knowledge.

You may like the blog's sidebar displays, the "peripheral content", its issues banners and advertised utilities, like Bloglet email alerts...BlogMap...Easy Stats...FireFox...Picasa...Paint Shop Pro...Google Battle.

Art, photography, design template, literacy, creativity, comedy, Functionality, radicality, something grabs you.

You don't imitate it, but you try to create your own personalized variation of it, maybe even for an entirely different purpose or in a new and completely unrelated context.

Writing styles vary vastly. Perhaps you just love the way the blogger writes, even when you disagree. Even when it angers or mystifies you.


Go out there.

Seek the New, Wild, Effective.

Soak up inspiration and genius.

Invent your own hybrid mishmashed variations,

and keep working until you

have something that can


Do something totally unexpected,

a thing maybe that you've never seen

any blogger do on their blog...

...and see what happens.

Post Unexpected Posts

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

...and be sure to email me

or post a comment to let us know

and see your ASTONISHING creation.



Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bloggers: Bizarre Mutant Web Dwellers

"stockholm statue fontene"

Bloggers: Bizarre Mutant Web Dwellers

(1.) If you're a blogger, you're bizarre.

You use the word "blog" like you not only understand it, but also aren't bothered about how ugly and suspicious it sounds to non-bloggers.

Every time you say "blog" it sounds like some loathsome, spurious, slithering thing...that you shouldn't even want to know about.

(2.) If you're a blogger, you're mutated.

You've been processed by the blogospheric fusterings and blusterings that ring your sleeping soul like photo-dynamic cluster-locution clutter-lakes.

You bang away on your keyboard, and you click away with your mouse, and you squint at the screen...aggressively, interactively, explosively.

You devour, debate, and debunk.

You seem more confident and opinionated than you were in your pre-blogging days.

You look people straight in the eyes and speak what you think, not caring what their uninteresting opinion may be. But you listen to it anyway, hoping to learn something, to test your own thoughts against.

You lurk only to return to your own little mini-website, called a "blog", and publish a response, a critique, a commendation, a trumpeteer's flomgullinquishment.

Nobody, unless they also are a BLOG ADDICT, can understand you, nor do they want to.

(3.) If you're a blogger, you're a web dweller.

You spend a lot of time on the web.

You do webby things, causing time to vanish rapidly.

"Just one more hour", you say,

then realize shortly thereafter:

ten have passed by.

You live in your blog, and in the blogs of others.

You post comments on any blog that strikes a chord or rubs you the wrong way.

You praise and attack.

You study and contemplate.

You burst with ideas encountered.

Your own mind feels larger every day.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Landmarks in Blog History 1992 - 2004

landmarks of blog history AT--Blog Core Values (photo: "lunch" by Anusharaji)

Landmarks in Blog History 1992 - 2004

[blog events, according to Meatball Wiki


(1.) FIRST BLOG = January 1992 "What's New" by Tim Berners-Lee.

(2.) June 1993 "What's New" by Marc Andreessen.

(3.) January 1994 what becomes "Links from the Underground" (after doestoevsky's "Notes from the Underground") by Justin Hall.

(4.) January 1995 "Online Diary" by Carolyn Burke.

(5.) August 1995 "Stating the Obvious" by Michael Sippey.

(6.) April 1997 "Scripting News" by Dave Winer.

(7.) September 1997 "SlashDot" by Rob Malda.

(8.) December 1997 "Robot Wisdom" by Jorn Barger.

(9.) May 1998 "" by Peter Merholz.

(10.) September 1998 "MemePool" begins.

(11.) Early 1999 Pitas automatic HTML blogging templates by Andrew Zeepo


(12.) March 1999 "" launched by Brad Fitzpatrick.

(13.) August 1999 "Blogger" of Pyra Labs, founded by Evan Williams, with Meg Hourihan ("MegNut"), Paul Bausch, Matt Hamer, Jack Saturn, and Derek Powazek. Still the largest blog management system in the world.

(14.) December 1999 "Edit This Page" by Dave Winer (most famous for Joel Spolsky's

(15.) March 1999 RichSiteSummary by Netscape is adapted by Dave Winer for his "Scripting News" blog.

(16.) May 1999 Here Come the Weblogs article on "Slashdot" blog.

(17.) July 1999 "Meta-Filter" community blog started by Matt Haughey.

(18.) February 2002 Blogger is over 10 million entries.

(19.) February 2003 Google buys Pyra Labs, Evan Williams' blogging company with 1.1 million users at time of acquisition.

(20.) May 2004 "Vaspers the Grate" by Steven Streight.

(21.) April 2005 "Blog Core Values" by Steven Streight.

This is my edited, truncated version of the Meatball Wiki "A Brief History" of weblogs.

Free Photos for Your Blog

dantada photo IMG_1504

There exist free photos you can use in your blogs, if you credit the artist by name and contact info (email, web site, blog, etc.), linking to them, and notifying them of how and where you're using their images.

There is often nothing wrong with the photos or the talent behind them.

They are simply "marginalized" like a tagline or sidebar, "made peripheral", "sliding away from center stage where the meaty applause resides."

Thus, non-existing, under-recognized, close companions with the esotericized, the oppressed, the immaterial, the unsaid, the vanishing, then re-invested, unknown.

Here are where true art looms in a gloaming on the spectral horizon.

I found this artist, dantada.

Located in Kanto, Japan,

dantada here is reflected above by "IMG_1504".


may be



dantada [at] yahoo [dot] com

I also discovered Anita Patterson's photos.

See the upper right corner of my blog sidebar.


When using the free photos,

you must contact the artist

to let them know you're using

their photo, their work.

Give the artist the URL (web address)

of where their photo is being used.

This way they can see how

you're using their photo.

This way, you both become famous.

You display artist work.

You communicate with artist.

You and artist are now a loose team.

You give credit, email address
and URL of artist to public display
in your blog site.

You link to artisit site.

You email notification to artist.

Artist may then promote your blog

as a new showcase of artist's work.

Your blog is now both an information dispenser

but is also a photographic art online gallery.

Here's something to amuse you now.

A photo/art collage of my images stored

created with Picasa 2.

The artwork is all my original material.

The photos are the work of others,

as credited where displayed separately.

my photo collage 001 with Picasa 2

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate