Aunty onc't knowed an editor wif' a sadistic humor. He luved to assign snide topics such as, "Chinks in Chinese Porcelain Industry."
One of his favorite games wuz to saddle some poor wanna-be-writer wif' two weird subjects an' tell 'em to connect the dots a'tween 'em in one 500 word article. Jes' think of "Chopped" fer journalists: Open yore baskets an make an entree from Twizzlers, ostrich loin, Casaba Melon an' cumin. In 30 minutes.
Hence scribblers yanked theirselves bald tryin' to find a single dot to lead a piece that combined "Red Tide Ravages Cape Cod" wif'
"Human Trafficking Swells in Romania." * (Try this exercise yoreself if youse already stumped on today's Sudoku.)
Mercy, Aunty do run on....seems I had a thread...oh yes, I wanna suggest that an article in today's WSJ about French Frozen Foods points to the trouble we's all noted about the decline of bloggerville. See? Reckon how I'se gonna connect them dots?? Frozen French vittles an' flatlined blogger-world?
France, as y'all might all know, is staggerin' under the weight of its socialistic policies. This reality done trickled up all the way to--gasp!-- Haute Cuisine . Uh-huh, the snooty chef de jour admits that le bottom line is the death of fresh ingredients. Fresh food is costly, mai oui, but it is the labor paid to the sous chef an' the potscubber that done dealt the coup de grace to homemade Foie Gras. The scullery maid of 1995 earned 12, 610 euros, while her daughter earns 25,153 euros (plus paid vacations an' full medical care, plus pension) 18 years later.
How to pay for this increase in labor? The meat of the matter is that the pricey boeuf bourguinon on yore bistro plate came out of the microwave. Gasp! GASP!!
Weep on dear diner, I ain't through yet. The unions insist that scullery work "is not an easy job" ** an' Monsieur le Gourmand must pay more for the privilege to dine in French brasseries. Natcherly the poor restauranteur gits the picture-- Monsieur is also pinched by the same social policies. He ain't gonna tuck in his napkin down at the corner cafe when the price the plat du jour is too punishing. (Madame, after all, looks fetching in her apron at home.) Forsooth.
To shave 10% from his costs, so that there can even be a bottom line for the chef an' his own family, the beleaguered chef turns to frozen foods. Frozen French cuisine delivered by Nestle Foods. Industrial foods delivered to the back door eliminate a chunk of the kitchen help. The tradeoff is that commercialized food is the new standard. Something precious is forfeited. If the delight and savor of French cuisine --and a huge slice of French identity an' culture--must be sacrificed fer the bottom line, well, we's all doin' the best we can to scape by.
An' thas' mah connection fer the blogger blahs. Folks is scraping by, ain't they? I'se said a'fore that early bloggers had such fun! That was the days a'fore blogs were colonized by every bidness known to man. (not to mention the spam-scamers) Now? Every magazine, every product, every service, every starlet, car-wash, an' bike shop blogs fer bucks or self promotion.
That turns visitors to blogs into customers, not visitors. Blogs I used to read is now nuthin' but outright promotion of products or services, no matter how charmingly presented. There is the sense of being manipulated, guided, maneuvered toward the purchase of goods for which the blogger is paid a percentage.
An' like frozen industrialized "French" food on the plat du jour, it doan taste the same. Something important has been sacrificed. Now, it ain't about the food the local farmer grew an' the chef sought for his signature dishes, then prepared with that special regional flair....but note that it is still presented as "special" or "French" or "regional" wink, wink. This French freeze thang is turnin' a whole segment of the culture into one big pretense.
Thas' much of the sadness I'se had lately over bloggerville. Somethin' is bein' lost. " Blog" is a contraction of "Weblog":
"A weblog may consist of the recorded ideas of an individual (a sort of diary) or be a complex collaboration open to anyone."In the beginning folks tumbled through the blog portal, found each other, an' an distinct community grew up-- not often homogenous, but a motley mix of folks an' their own peculiarities that lent great charm to the whole enterprise. That were the fun of it, the discovery of it. Ya' jes din't know what might show up.
I wish I had a nickel fer each time somebody said, "I ain't got time to blog no more unless I do it to promote my livlihood."
Aunty ain't got nuthin' against using the web fer makin' a few sous. I does it mahself. But cain't we do that separately? Reckon what I'se meanin', is to wail an' moan over the loss of that special animal that is a real ( un commercial) blog. Now, it's all frozen fare. Thar' oughta be room in folks' life fer the non-commercial relationship.
Mebbe thas' the question fer us all--whar' does ya' have yore special relationships? The ones that ain't about makin' a dollar off somebody or them makin' it offa yore pocket?
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I does agree that Face Book is part of the ailing bloggerverse. Also in today's WSJ thar's a op-ed by Meghan Kelly, "Aristotle Wouldn't Friend You on Facebook". Aristotle warned of "friendships of utility..for the commercially minded." And since FB is public (even when it is "private") everyone manages the FB relationships just so...it is after all a tool for self-promotion. No honest exchange of "friendship" is likely. Ms/ Kelly is departing FB after 9 years.
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An' I does agree that --as some of y'all (Chick 9) done said--that the scourge of political correctness is another dagger in the heart bloggerville. Fer the record, I much prefer an honest disagreement wif' well intended folks than fake "can't we all jes' get along" sentiment that reduces every post or comment to a Facebook like button--which lands us squarely back into Frozen Food territory.
Anyhoo....thanks fer stoppin' by.
* this story passed the editor's scrutiny
"Unpredictable Ebb and Flow of Money Befuddles Economists"
City fathers bemoan the blood tide besmirching the shores of pristine Cape Cod. Summer revenue is the lifeline for many property owners who rent to well heeled sun seekers May through September. This year the swank island's fortune is jeopardized by an algae whose domino effect has tipped over the local economy. Abandoned ice cream kiosks, falling property values, boarded up restaurants and sagging bicycle sales were not part of the island's financial projections. "Despite our meticulous planning, Cape Cod may suffer a severe revenue reversal," said Nantucket City Commissioner, Chatsworth Bennington IV. Bennington's own beachside dunes are fouled by the crimson rags of dinoflagellate Gonyaulax. The Nauset Marsh estuary and other popular shell fishing locations are shut down due to the toxic tide.
Economists warn that the ebb and flow of money is not an exact science. "Technical models and sophisticated software can only give a community a projection, not a reality," cautioned Cornell economist, Cash Wealthrow. "Cape Cod based their budget on a responsible model, but nothing is certain, boom or bust. An example we used in class this week was the surging economy of Romanian border towns where human trafficking is a significant source of income."
Wealthrow outlined the unexpected change in fortune for the former Soviet Bloc nation. "The situation is morally abominable, we agree. It will be very difficult to stop, however, because a poor nation has discovered a river of money. We examined the data of David Batstone of the University of San Fransisco and a non-profit, Scarlet Cord. Romanian coffers are swelling with blood money: Consider the widening wealth from bribes paid to the border authorities and local police, the hundreds of charities that have arrived with funds to combat the scourge with victims hospices, orphanages and health clinics. Then factor in WHO and other UN personnel who set up their high paid research teams which patronized shops and bars. Don't overlook cheap slave labor of discarded prostitutes and diseased children that increased agricultural and manufacturing profits, and so on. Now, I asked the students, what economist working in Romania after the fall of the Berlin Wall would have predicted a Romanian boom based on this model? There you have it. Economies are fluid, never static. You can plan, but, plan to be surprised."
** On the "not an easy job" whine of the French unions, Uncle remarked how his own Daddy, needin' to pay his collich tuition, used to camp out on at the inlet in a tent fer days at a time gigging flounder to sell to the local seafood joints. He lived on canned sardines an' crackers, thar' warn't no SPF 50 in them days, an the horseflies left dents in yore flesh, while the gnats blinded ya'. Thar's not easy, then thar's really not easy.