Comments And Civility

If you insist upon being an asshole, and call me foul names, besmirching every liberal on the planet with your oh-so-damn-clever phrases you are repeating from Rush Limbaugh and his like, I won’t publish your comments. Simple enough for you? If you have something intelligent to say, even something that I don’t necessarily agree with, I will publish your comment if, and only if, you write sentences that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have read on the evening news by your mother, or grandmother. In other words, if your tone would make her blush, it will not get past me either.

For the record, I pay for this blog out of my own pocket, so you have no inherent right to post comments. Free speech only applies to government restrictions upon free speech, and doesn’t give you the right to spew your half-digested, rightwing bullshit all over my blog. Make your own damn blog, and write whatever the hell you want, I don’t care.Fartwar

fart war

Email Of My Digital Day

We Deliver - Just not Saturdays
We Deliver – Just not Saturdays

If you are interested, in the slightest, in my daily travails and triumphs, you should sign up for my daily email post – automatically created via Google’s Feedburner. In this email, you’ll see my most recent ten photographs, and I will do my best to give you a few interesting articles to read every day. Ideally, you’ll see portions of 9 or 101 articles, plus a sampling of my photographs of the day.

If my work day allows it, there might also be a few blog posts as well included in the email – which are usually longer entries, but to be honest, I don’t seem to have the stamina to create blog posts each and every day any more. Basically, the email will contain items that will never appear on the blog itself – mostly because I’m a lazy fr*ck.

As far as what kind of content you’ll receive in the email, I’d guess the mix of topics to roughly be:

  • Photographs
  • 40% national US politics
  • 5% Chicago politics
  • 5% local politics somewhere else like Texas or California, or somewhere I have an interest (Baltimore, Oregon, San Francisco, New York City, Guam, Austin, Yurtistan, yadda yadda). Yeah, I read a lot. I do. Every day, usually.
  • 10% music and music history – jazz, blues, rock, Bob Dylan, whatever. 
  • 10% film and film history – I am a film school drop-out after all
  • 10% Apple related – I’ve been a Mac user since before it was cool
  • 10% humor, or what I find funny 
  • 10% weird and unusual stories from the old, weird America and the old, weird world…

Truthfully, the email is a simple communication tool, and you should go ahead and sign up. Even if you don’t get around to reading every single one, you’ll still find items of interest when you do read the email. Plus, the email is free…

What do you have to lose?

  1. the Feedburner limit []

Further Reading from September 29 2012

Touching Up
Touching Up

Well, thanks to the magic of, I’ve started to use Delicious to seed information to my blog again.1

There is a limit of Feedburner that it will only post the last ten entries into the daily blog email – for Flickr photos, if I’ve had a busy photographic day, or for blog posts – and yesterday turned out to be an epic sitting-in-front-of-the-computer day2, so I posted more than ten entries to Delicious.

Here are a few tidbits that got omitted:

  1. “And Fake Steve is dead, but the self-important drama queen lives on.”
  2. “Special Service Areas are local tax districts that fund expanded services & programs through localized property tax”
  3. “iPhone 5 Wi-Fi Problems Fixed By Manual DNS Settings”
  4. New Tracking Frontier: Your License Plates
  5. “Obama Orders Chinese Company to End Investment at Sites Near Drone Base”
  6. “Romney vows to take on Lyme disease ‘epidemic’” Uhh, ok?
  7. Histoire de Melody Nelson: Serge Gainsbourg’s psychedelic orchestral rock opera
  8. Paul Ryan “referred to rape as a “method of conception.”
  9. “The Satchmo Cocktail: A Sazerac… With A Twist”
  10. “How many times have you said, “if only we had a president who made Lyme Disease his number one priority?””
  11. Brian May: Me and my animal passions | From the Guardian
  12. “Looking to Mexico for Alternative to Abortion Clinics”
  13. “Laws Revive ‘World Before Roe’ as Abortions Require Arduous Trek”
  14. “Cherokee Nation Chief Demands Apology From Scott Brown Campaign”
  15. “Romney is perhaps best known for being a clown and a humanitarian, … an LSD-fueled comedian.” aka Wavy Gravy


Also, I’ve created an recipe which works as follows:

  • new Delicious post is created
  • if I use the tag “link”, then a new WordPress post is created with the snippet, with a link to the original URL.
  • Benefits – easy to create posts this way – basically select some text, click a javascript bookmarklet on my browser bookmark bar, and add a tag or three.
  • Cons – limit to 999 characters, limited HTML formatting, doesn’t include an image, and doesn’t allow me to frame the quote or react to it, unless I do it later.

I just tested, and I can edit the Delicious post later to add the magic trigger word, “blog” as a tag, and posts still are generated, even if they existed first a while ago. Pretty nifty.

In general, the limit of ten new mini-posts in a day won’t be an issue, as most days I am not reading in front of my computer that many hours. So, turns out I don’t need Twitter after all.

  1. Boring backstory discussed here and here []
  2. due to some work I had done in my loft which took several hours longer than anticipated. Replaced some windows and some springs if you really want to know []

Delicious Twitter Feedburner IFTTT problems again

Defunct Tweets
Defunct Tweets

For a long time, I had worked out a good system, using Delicious, Twitter, Feedburner and IFTTT. I found interesting articles or phrases in my daily internet life, tweeted them, and these URLs would be automatically fed into my Delicious account, and this in turn would seed entries into my daily blog email post1. Thus my blog’s hunger stayed fed, and I didn’t have to go to the trouble of creating an entire post around a few sentences. However, Twitter, in its drive to become less useful, has disallowed this kind of interaction by changing its APIs. Twitter wants to force every user interaction to occur on its own webpage, presumedly so they can sell advertising “eyeballs” – viewers – but this means a lot of the cool stuff that Twitter could be used for no longer are viable. At least that is my understanding of what happened between yesterday and today.

I’ll see what I can do to replace this lack of grist for my web grinding mill, but it is irritating. Anyone have any suggestions? Email me, or leave a comment.

Here is what should have been included in this morning’s blog email2:

  • “Mother Cabrini Shrine Reopening; Le Corbusier in Color; More!”
  • “Ross Douthat’s schtick at The Atlantic: repeating Redstate talking points, minus the obscenity and grammatical errors”
  • “Todd Akin compared the recent debate performance of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill to that of a “wildcat,”
  • “In 1960, about 5% of Americans expressed a negative reaction to political intermarriage; in 2010, about 40% did ”
  • “Pro-life asshole vows to fight “to his dying breath” for rights of unborn” C’mon Canada, you are better than this
  • Opium Museum 
  • “How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict”
  • “Romney mentioned that it would routinely take up to eight years to turn around a firm” but US govt easier?
  • Why Ryan is worse for Romney than “47 percent”
  • Brad DeLong: I Do Not Understand Why This Is Not Tax Fraud… Good ole DoubleClick
  • Your Body’s Best Time for Everything

And actually, I’m being a little lazy in my cut/paste job here, as these links would also have included the full, original title of the URL, which is sometimes descriptive as well. For instance, the second link about Ross Douthat would have also spelled out “And If Only The Vietnamese Had Worn Bright Red Coats And Formed Infantry Squares”. You get the idea.

Anyway, thanks for messing up my workflow Twitter…

  1. and in the sidebar over there to the right if you visit the actual blog page []
  2. along with whatever photos I uploaded to Flickr, and if I had written an actual blog post like the one you are reading []

WordPress on my mind

Strangely enough, even after all this time, I still think about blog posts I should write, even if I never get around to actually writing them. Usually right as I am about to sleep, or just as I am waking up.

This isn’t one of those posts – I am instead testing out the newish WordPress iPad tool.

My photo site is progressing nicely, but there is some sort of problem with the thumbnails (Masonry).


Marty is visiting his mom, and isn’t able to fix this at the moment.

Delicious Blog Post Went Awry

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

You probably didn’t notice, but my automated posting tool has eaten some magic mushrooms, and fallen through the rabbit hole. I think it is posting every hour, on the hour, but I didn’t count after ten or so duplicates. I’m just turning it off until further notice. Apologies for all the duplicates…

Dropbox app brings iPad support, fantastic external editing


Dropbox app brings iPad support, fantastic external editing: “The Dropbox team updated the Dropbox app today with full iPad compatibility and the option to choose which app will open a document. It’s a very welcome refresh “

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

I’ve been using DropBox for a few months now, even though I have my own network, because sometimes certain files are handy to have access to, no matter where I am. An iPad version is welcome news.

Also am testing MarsEdit 3.0, because ecto1 will never again be updated.

  1. my long time favorite blog editing tool []

iPad received

Sitting on the couch playing with an Ipad. Fun. Screen is gorgeous, but non-native apps (those from the iPhone ) look pretty much like crap. I am sure that either the apps have been updated or their functionality can be replaced by a similar app. Or the app’s developer is furiously coding an update I suppose.

More thoughts later.
iPad home screen

Blog error – Postalicious crapped out

Not sure what happened exactly, but my Postalicious plugin went a bit nutso last night, creating several posts that were erroneous. The plugin is a simple way to keep track of interesting URLs that I don’t have the time to make a full blog post about, when it works correctly.

Not Tonight Dear

The way the plugin is supposed to work is that it polls my delicious links ever hour, finds if there are any additions, merges these snippets into a page, and publishes the page once three entries are found. There is supposed to be a time regulator as well so that a Links post is only published ever 26 hours (so there aren’t multiple Links posts a day), but that didn’t keep several posts from being published last night, posts with empty URLs at that.

500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error

I’ve disabled the plugin until I can figure out what went wrong (or there’s a new version, whichever comes first). It could be a problem at, or it could be because of the new version of the Postalicious plugin I installed yesterday, or some other factor.

Sorry about that.

Request for Consideration

I should have said this earlier in the month, but got busy, and forgot to post the thought. Anyway, for the record, I am not giving gifts to anyone this year, besides my 5 year old nephew1. For the rest of you, I love you, but instead am donating gift money to charities, food banks and

However, I am planning to craft some photography calendars from photos I took last year. These will be hand-made creations, crafted as I have time to craft them. No two calenders will be alike, but if you want one, contact me2and I’ll let you know details like cost3. Last year I think I made five, but I’m hoping to make a lot more this year as we are not traveling anywhere, and our main client’s offices are closed until January 4, 2010. Plus it will be fun.

  1. and even that might be a little late. We had picked out a cool gift, but then forgot to send it until yesterday. Doh! Maybe it will be a Festivus present instead? []
  2. if you don’t have my email handy, just leave a comment here []
  3. if any, since I haven’t actually finished making these yet, am not sure how elaborate and expensive they will be, so am not sure if I’m giving them away or asking for a donation []

FTC Says Bloggers Must Disclose Payments

Blog rules have, apparently, changed.

Mictorate Surrogate

– Blogger or flogger? The Federal Trade Commission is taking a tougher line on bloggers who accept cash or gifts to tout a company’s products or services.

Under revised rules announced Monday, the FTC will require bloggers and celebrities to clearly state when they receive cash or “payment in kind” for endorsing a company’s products or services.

The changes, adopted on a 4-0 vote, are the first revisions to federal guidelines on endorsements and testimonial advertising since 1980.

Connections between advertisers and endorsers must be disclosed under the revised guidelines. The FTC said the stricter disclosure will apply to comments on talk shows, blog posts and on social media as well as in traditional advertisements.

[Click to continue reading FTC Says Bloggers Must Disclose Payments –]

But this policy, as reported here and in a similar NYT article, is pretty vague as to terms and definitions. How will it be enforced? Who qualifies as a blogger? Does this policy include Yelp and their pay-to-play model?

Or does the policy include low trafficked sites like your humble host? Does’s mildly dirty lucre qualify as “receiving cash”? Amazon pays me approximately 3% of the pre-tax price of any product that you purchase through a B12 Partners affiliate link1, which reaches peaks of nearly $30 some months, but more frequently is in the single digits. Google ads, over on the sidebar, or possibly inserted into your RSS feed or daily email, pay me a few cents for every click-through, which also adds a few dollars to my bank account every month. I pay more for my website than I make, but I’m not doing it for money, I’m doing it for other2 reasons.

Other than that, B12 Solipsism has not received squat from any product I’ve mentioned, any person I’ve praised or ridiculed, or any event I’ve mentioned. Now and again, someone will suggest a topic to me, but most of the time, I just ignore the PR pitch. Perhaps if there was financial compensation attached to the pitch, or even free tickets, I might pay attention.

Or Else

Besides B12, is the new ruling akin to what television product placement law is? Which is what again? Seem to see a lot of product placement in traditional media, how is a consumer to know which news magazines are running paid-for content, and which are not? How about Congressional leaders? Can the FTC or comparable governmental agency place disclaimers, perhaps in a forehead tattoo form, on health industry shills like Max Baucus for instance?

The FTC Guide, as currently written, seems woefully unenforced. Nearly all of the Sunday Talking Head shows seem to skirt the endorsement guidelines. Will that change too?

For purposes of this part, an endorsement means any advertising message (including verbal statements, demonstrations, or depictions of the name, signature, likeness or other identifying personal characteristics of an individual or the name or seal of an organization) which message consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser. The party whose opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience the message appears to reflect will be called the endorser and may be an individual, group or institution.

(c) For purposes of this part, the term product includes any product, service, company or industry.

(d) For purposes of this part, an expert is an individual, group or institution possessing, as a result of experience, study or training, knowledge of a particular subject, which knowledge is superior to that generally acquired by ordinary individuals.


Live High aka High Life

Anyway, we’ll probably read more about this in the future, but B12 Solipsism readers can sleep easy tonight knowing that we are not paid blogger shills3 ,4 ,5

  1. such as the images of books-recently-purchased residing on the blog sidebar []
  2. heretofore unknown []
  3. though, Corporate America, our lines of communication are open, hint, hint []
  4. no, not really, we’ll probably just make fun of you. []
  5. but maybe not, if the price is right! []

Zazzle and Dale Chihuly suck

A while ago1, before Flickr became my website of choice to host photos, I made some t-shirts and posters at the online print shop, Zazzle, from photos I took. I made a few for myself, but afterwords, left the account there, active, in case somebody stumbled upon one of my designs and decided to buy it. Not likely actually, and exactly zero people have done so in the six years or so I had the account.2

Today I got an email from Zazzle, reading:

Thank you for your interest in, and thank you for publishing products on Zazzle.

Unfortunately, it appears that your product, Garfield Conservatory, contains content that is not suitable for printing at

We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.

The details of the product being removed are listed below:

• Product Title: Garfield Conservatory

• Product Type: Print

• Product ID: 228639274743114826

• Result: Not Approved

• Policy Violations:

o Design contains an image or text that is copyrighted.

If you are interested in purchasing Official Licensed Merchandise from Zazzle please visit:

I’m pretty sure the image was this photo of a Chihuly exhibition at Garfield Conservatory.3

Garfield Redjar susume.jpg

Notice that I had modded the image in Photoshop so that it resembled nothing so much as just a magic marker sketch4. So for all the Zazzle zealots knew, I drew the image by hand. Is copyright law really that much in favor of factory artists like Chihuly? He’s famous for churning out thousands of glass pieces in his sweatshop, touching none of them, having his interns do all the actual work, he just markets the pieces. So my manipulated photo violated this copyright, somehow. Seems like this would be protected under “fair use” doctrine, especially since it isn’t a straight photo.

Strange world we live in.

I have deleted the remaining four items that were still listed at Zazzle, and have requested my account be deleted as well.

Funny also, on the Chihuly wikipedia page:

In 2006, Chihuly filed a lawsuit against a pair of glassblowers, including Robert Kaindl, whom he accused of copying his work. Chihuly was unsuccessful: the glass blower federation argued that Chihuly’s designs feature basic shapes; therefore any novice would be able to create the spiral glass which is featured in many of Chihuly’s composition

Looking at the simple vase floating in a pond – how could you copyright something as mundane?

  1. somewhere around 2003 []
  2. of course, I haven’t added any new items there in six years either – my initial experience was pretty shitty to tell the truth. The shirts were poor quality and the prints faded within a few wash cycles. I recall the entire “creation” process being incredibly awkward and cumbersome – the tools were poorly engineered and clunky. They might have improved since 2003, or maybe not []
  3. can’t tell for sure because the image had already been deleted and long ago that Google cache no longer had a copy []
  4. my Photoshop skills not that polished at this time. Ahem. []

Tynt Tracer Tool – Creative Commons

Interesting tool.

CE Zuercher & Co Wholesale Cheese

If you’re one of the couple dozen people who copied text off our blog yesterday, you may have noticed some more text accompany your clipboard when you pasted it — a link to our site and the license (Attribution) we’ve offered our content under. This is because we’ve installed Tynt’s Tracer tool on our blog which uses a bit of javascript wizardry to concatenate attribution and, as of now, particular CC license information to content copied from our site.

If you’re curious about how this works, try selecting some text from anywhere on our blog and pasting it somewhere. Rich text editors (such as most WYSIWYG HTML editors, or Gmail) will preserve the hyperlink but the text will also show up in standard plain text editors as well.

As a creator and contributor to the commons, you have the right to attribution (all six of our licenses require it), so why not make it easy for your audience to automatically provide it?

Setting up and installing Tracer on your own site is easy, just head over to the site, create an account for your domain, select the CC license you’ve released your work under, and add the javascript tags to the footer of your pages. You’ll then be able to see on your Tracer dashboard precisely which text and images are being copied and pasted from your site, and where they are going.

And don’t worry, the extra markup is just text. Nothing about Tynt’s tool forces reusers to do anything, its merely useful additional information providing proper attribution and license notification.

[Click to continue reading Who is Copying and Pasting Your CC Content? Discover More With Tynt’s Tracer Tool – Creative Commons]

I am not concerned with anyone plagiarizing my blog (there are much better sources out there than this humble web-zine), and my text is Creative Commons licensed and so are the majority of the photos I post. Still, might try using this tool as a lark.

You Should Sign Up for the B12 Daily Email

Taking a cue from Kottke1, I am reminding you that you should sign up for my daily email. Signing up should only take a minute or less if you are a fast typer, I absolutely promise to never send you unsolicited email2. Feedburner/Google has enabled the email to include items that don’t necessarily make it to my weblog, but that I still think are interesting, or are otherwise topics of note. Like news stories that I Digg, YouTube video I “favorite, Flickr photos I upload, etc.

Plus you should subscribe to my daily email3 so that you have something fun to read as you drink your morning beverage. A dose of B12’s Solipsism can only enhance your day!

Hotel Visitor

Oh, and you should follow me on Twitter too, if you are so inclined. I have other social media accounts, but I don’t care if you friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Tumblr blog, for instance.

  1. I hope Jason Kottke doesn’t mind being referred to by simply his last name, I’ve been reading his weblog for so long now, to me he is the blogosphere equivalent of single-named celebrities like Bono or Nenê []
  2. unless you want me to, of course. Ahem []
  3. usually gets released around 1 AM CST []

WordPress Week 29 – plugin overview

Used WordPress for over 6 months now, and am still pleased with it. There are so many plugins available for WordPress that tweaking minor nuances is a fun hobby.

Currently I have these plugins installed and active, in no particular order:

  1. WP-Footnotes – quite useful – adds a numbered footnote to a post. Good for my style of breezy, top of mind writing. Triggered by enclosing text in double parentheses.1
  2. WP Super Cache
    – supposedly speeds access to particular pages, and WordPress blogs in general. Haven’t tested it really, but who wouldn’t want a speedier rendered page?
  3. WP Ajax Edit Comments
    – some Ajax goodness, eases editing of comments for me, and from you. Registered users can edit their comments, non-registered can edit in a certain time frame.
  4. Smart Youtube
    – better YouTube embedding than the default from the YouTube site. Copy and paste a YouTube URL into a post and add the letter v to the URL right before the “://”. Simple, yet useful.
  5. SimplePie Core
    Load the core SimplePie API library for any extension that wants to utilize it.
  6. Postalicious
    – creates the daily links page via Requires SimplePie Core these days, but other than that, seems more reliable than the links post option from itself. I’ve started going back in and editing to add quirky images for some reason.
  7. Quotes Collection
    – fuels the Random Quote sidebar widget on the upper right margin. More for me than you probably. Love me some quotes…
  8. AJAXed WordPress
    – don’t use all the options this plugin enables, but some are useful.
  9. Akismet
    – spam comment filter. The last few days quite a number of spam comments have made it past the Akismet filter, but all in all, it does a great job. Occasionally, marks quasi-legitmate comments as spam, but no more than 5 times. According to its statistics, 4,872 spams caught, 18,972 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 99.849%. Umm, no, but we’ll keep you anyway.
  10. All in One SEO Pack
    – not so sure about the usefulness of this plugin, but have kept it so far.
  11. Around this date in the past… – Widget Edition
    – testing this (see the lower sidebar), a tip toe through this blog’s history. Of course, a year ago, I was using Movable Type, so only reposted items end up there currently.
  12. Blog Copyright (by BTE)
    – sure, why not. Preemptive move against the splogs.
  13. FD Feedburner Plugin
    – re-directs the default RSS feed over to FeedBurner which has a hell of a lot of more interesting features. FeedBurner also generates the “email of today’s posts” feature, which is pretty useful if you don’t use a newsreader or visit everyday, as it includes Flickr, Digg, and whatever else.
  14. Flickr Photo Album
    – haven’t really used this, might go away.
  15. Google Analyticator
    – Adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google’s Analytics.
  16. Google XML Sitemaps
    -generates a compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. Contributes to good search engine ranking presumedly.
  17. Lightbox 2
    – used to make uploaded images appear in their own “embiggened” window. Am using it less and just using Picasa’s bandwidth instead of my own, but will probably keep this too.
  18. MobilePress
    – just installed this – presumedly creates a mobile friendly version of the blog, suitable for iPhones and the like. Haven’t tested it yet.
  19. WordPress Automatic Upgrade
    – aids in painless upgrade to the WordPress software.
  20. WordPress Popular Posts
    – again, enables archive digging. Currently residing in the sidebar under “Hot Action”.
  21. Stats
    – Tracks views, post/page views, referrers, and clicks.
  22. Twitter for WordPress
    – sometimes fails, but works better than a straight RSS feed. Haven’t given up on Twitter yet, come follow me
  23. Subscribe To Comments
    – useful addition to a comment feed, not that I get many comments, but in the rare instances.
  24. ShareThis
    – for posting to Digg, delicious, FaceBook and various other social media sites. Don’t know if it ever gets used, but its here anyway.
  25. Redirection
    – for those occasions where I make a typo in the URL of a post, and don’t notice until later, this plug-in smoothly re-directs to the proper page.
  26. Random Redirect
    try it!!

Geez, didn’t realize this would turn out to be such a long list.
Do you have any plugins essential to your blog’s functioning and aesthetic?

  1. like this, duh []