The fascinating world of blogging

Being, quite literally, an old hand at writing: childish stories and silly poems leading to keeping a diary, writing articles, travelogues, short stories, and eventually books, I have had a long love affair with the written word. It has never diminished. If anything, it means more to me in my twilight years, than ever. Oh the joys, and hiccups…of reading and writing!

Naturally, over the years, fashions and fancies have changed, and I am now delighted to welcome and be involved in the world of the Blogger. The word itself somehow has as odd, unpleasant connotation, perhaps reminding one of mugger or blagger, but most of the Blogs I’ve read have been interesting, entertaining, erudite and some downright brilliant, with plenty of humour and twists. The dictionary calls the act of blogging a verb and a noun (depending on use), its full title being weblog, a piece of writing used on the internet.

Of course, as with every genre of writing, there will always be abysmal bloggers and good ones, and naturally I would like to highlight three of – in my ‘umble opinion – the best.. The first name which springs to mind, is that of Carol Hedges, esteemed writer of many books (around fourteen I believe) and latterly the author of several, exciting, Victorian murder tales. Now, being a grandmother for the first time, Carol looks after her ‘little G” (two years old on 24th February) a few times a week and writes delightfully of their time together. Under the umbrella of “Adventures of L-Plate Gran – Never underestimate the power of Grandmas!” Carol writes regular gems which I thoroughly recommend to other grandmas. (Sadly I’m not one, but love them all the same.) In Carol’s offerings, you will find heart-warming episodes, zaniness and plain good fun.

Carol’s blog

My second recommended Blogger is a man with the unusual name of Bun Karyudo (pronounced Boon-CAR-you-dough) who was ‘Born on one continent, raised on a second, and now lives on a third.’ A married man with two teenaged sons, he has written blogs with such titles as: “Exploding tea bags? Not my cup of tea.” And “The Cosmic Significance of Bathroom Tiles,” which gives a few clues as to the quirkiness of his nature. Pictured with a paper bag over his head, Bun pretends to be “A Billionaire Philanthropist.”(Always good to humour him, as he might just happen to be one!). I personally think that Bun should open an “‘Ideas Line” for Bloggers as he can find interest and humour in tripping over his own feet or being sick; not to mention waxing lyrical over anything from plastic bags to “A freezing day in Wigan.” I kid you not.

Bun’s blog

Now I come to my third favourite Blogger and won’t apologise for so doing. Being a Brit – brought up not to praise myself or my family – I questioned myself soundly before ‘exposing’ my eldest son, Jason, to the limelight. And then I thought, ‘Why not?’ I’m a truthful person and I believe my eldest son to be an excellent Blogger. (All three sons are ‘good eggs,’ their hearts are in the right places and they are good citizens. It just happens that the eldest one also writes. Well!) Totally ignoring the word nepotism, an ugly concept, I continue… No stranger to originality or weirdness (a necessity in the blogging world) – and we’re back to quirky again – Jason also produces such posts as “Dinosaurs from Space” and “Klaatu barada nikto!” and a departure: a zany short story called ”Procrastination Man.” I can thoroughly recommend a read at his blog – halfbananas.

Jason’s blog

 

 

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 560 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Humour – vive la difference

Who doesn’t like a good chuckle or belly laugh? It’s sometimes better for you than a pill…

Luckily, there’s more than a soupcon of humour in our family and hurray for that.

Exchanging emails with my eldest son Jason recently, we were discussing writing (as you do) re various genres, and he said: “I could always write about hamster racing in 14th century Bruges,” And it really gave me the giggles. He and I used to write ‘alternative horoscopes:’ eg: ‘Beware of men in false beards this month (they’re all the rage); if bored take up clog dancing.’ And such nonsense.

Taste

The above set me thinking about the vast difference in taste and types of humour. Us Brits have a fair variety: at its best silly, slap-stick, dry, subtle, clever; at its worst lavatorial…Re TV sit-coms – pole-vaulting to the top, are ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and ‘Porridge,.’ We can thank the late, lamented John Sullivan for ‘Fools’ and Dick Clement and Ian Las Frenais for ‘Porridge.’Continentals have mime, childish, silly and clever, and the Americans seem to ‘have it all.’ When they’re good, their sit-coms shine: Frasier, Mash, Taxi but some are banal and dire (as are some of ours!) The Irish have a delightful (innocent) way of making you laugh. Take directions: ‘Fenwick street you’ll be wanting? Turn right, then left and go past the shop that was demolished last year and it’s on the next corner.’ Slap-stick: more popular in the past, is universal, and of course popularised through American movies starring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton et al. Then along came Monty Python and changed tack – much more of an acquired taste. They love to shock and do! I love their silly, zany stuff. The subject could fill several books and does, and of course it’s all a matter of taste.

Comedians

Take comedians. they’re relying more and more on foul language and/or pedestrian humour. Come back Ronnie Barker, Morecombe and Wise, Dave Allen (especially in his earlier days), and I’m very partial to Woody Allen’s brand: ‘I don’t mind dying as long as I’m not there when it happens.’There are many funny Jewish comedians, and I’m a sucker for simple jokes like: New Yorker:’You look lost, son. Can I help?’ ‘Yeah, how can I get to Carnegie Hall?’ ‘Practice, my boy, practice…’ And, a Jewish man is knocked down and slightly hurt. A passer-by attends to him and asks ‘Are you comfortable sir?’ The victim shakes his head from side to side and says ‘I make a living!’ Let’s not forget alternative comedy either. Steve Wright, pan-faced and serious, is clever and thought provoking. ‘ Bought some batteries and there was nothing with them.’ Gets you frowning…

Less is more

This applies to most things in my book. Who needs to overdose on violence, swearing and sex (hands down you at the back there…) Writing about all three is more effective when slightly rationed. It’s much more titillating…There’s nothing original or clever about swearing to excess; anyone can do it! However, used with care, it can be a real put-down and very effective. ‘Fuck off,’said at just the right time, can really hit the funny-bone.

Humour in literature

A few names quickly come to mind: two being Charles Dickens – some of his characters were hilarious; and Mark Twain, who wrote: ‘The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects there is anything funny about it.’(from ‘How to tell a Story.’ ) And how could you not mention Ogden Nash, who wrote over 500 amusing poems. There was nothing funny about his death, aged 69 in 1971 from Crohn’s disease aggravated by eating improperly prepared coleslaw, but I bet he could have penned a funny poem about it! Perhaps not so famous on the world stage was one:John Kennedy Toole, an American, who wrote ‘A Confederacy of Dunces” (1980). Unable to find a publisher for his book, he eventually committed suicide. How grimly ironic that, when the book was published after his death, he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1981.

As Mark Twain wrote: ‘Humour is mankind’s greatest blessing.’(From a biography.)