Website Clean-up Update

It’s done.  Finally.

Three weeks after making the move from Windows Live Spaces to WordPress, The Writings Of Dennis Earl is finally looking the way it should:  like a professional website.  It wasn’t easy.  Numerous pieces had spacing issues which were an absolute bugger to correct.  As I was trying to remove needless gaps between the paragraphs, the size and style of the font would change unexpectedly.  It would either shrink, expand and/or darken in tone.  Sometimes, small or large chunks of the text would simply disappear.  On other occasions, certain paragraphs would be mysteriously repeated or relocated somewhere else on the page.  As a newbie to WordPress blogging, it was very easy to get infuriated over the slightest frustration.  I felt very depressed at the start.

But thankfully, the more time I spent figuring things out, the easier it became to focus on cleaning up and I began to feel a lot better.  You have to understand that WordPress is more advanced that Windows Live.  For one thing, you’re dealing with codes which tell the computer how your words are supposed to look once they’re published on the site.  You see, when you want to work on a piece, there are two tabs to choose from:  Visual and HTML.  Right now, I’m typing on what’s called The Visual Editor.  It’s pretty much the same as Windows Live only the window you type in is much smaller.  (You can adjust the size but I haven’t tried to figure that out yet.)  When you click HTML, you’ll see everything you’ve typed plus a whole bunch of other words bracketed with the greater than and lesser than signs.  These are essentially commands that let the computer know when to bold something or underline it, when to make a page return or show what website you’re embedding in a certain word or phrase in the text. 

A lot of the difficulty I had came from pieces that were originally written and saved in Microsoft Word then copied and pasted into the old Windows Live site.  I learned the hard way that Word is not exactly WordPress-friendly.  Once I figured out what to do, it was simply a matter of going into HTML, finding those pesky codes and deleting them, sometimes more than once.  Perserverance, patience and constant previewing ultimately got the job done.  I highly recommend that you make changes in HTML, not the Visual Editor, and that you preview your work before you publish.  It is so much easier and I wish I knew that from the start.

While there are still some pieces that have an extra page return here and there, practically everything else is perfectly spaced out.  I can always go back and cut out more page return codes if the mood strikes me, but I’m pretty happy with the way this website looks now, minor flaws notwithstanding.  I have to learn that perfection is an impossibility.

This would be a good time to explain the new category policy.  Back on Windows Live, you were restricted to using one category per piece.  And you had a limit on the number of new categories you could create.  I remember being really disappointed about that because I had a whole bunch of category ideas that I couldn’t use.

Thankfully, WordPress is a completely different story.  You can add as many new categories as you want, whenever you want.  As a result, those old ideas have been revived and successfully implemented into the new site.  Since I’ve written quite a few pieces about The Beatles, U2, Seinfeld and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, each of them has their own categories now.  I could’ve done the same for Howard Stern and Iggy Pop, but for now, I’ve decided against that.  (I’ve done enough cleaning up for now.)  All of the old categories from Windows Live have safely made the transition to WordPress and I will continue to use them when appropriate.  The complete list of active labels, including all the ones specifically created for WordPress, can be seen right under my search engine.

Here’s the other cool thing about WordPress categorization.  You can use more than one per piece.  In fact, you can use as many as you want. Although it was greatly time consuming and frustrating (because of those unwanted codes interfering with the layouts), I went through every piece to add more categories.  With the exceptions of certain commentaries, personal history articles, most website announcements and the majority of entertainment reviews, everything else has at least two classifications.  Since I’ve decided against using tags for now, these category labels will let readers know where these pieces, and other ones of a similiar nature, are filed.

Besides also correcting the occasional spelling mistake (I know there’s one I missed but I don’t remember where I saw it), I also made a series of deletions that were long overdue.  In the fall of 2006, I acquired a new email address from Hotmail which has been the main contact for anyone wanting to get in touch with me.  The earlier address is on the verge of extinction and I’ve eliminated all mentions of it on here.  Sometimes I acknowledged the change in updates on certain pieces and sometimes I didn’t.  Either way, it’s time to grow up.  No more silly email addresses.  It’s strictly from now on.

Besides cleaning up a large number of pieces (thankfully not everything needed to be tweaked), I also went over all the posted comments which had unnecessary slashes inserted into various words.  Without changing any of the sentiments, whether they were positive or negative, the direct feedback on this site now looks as it did on Windows Live. 

So, with that huge job taken care of, what’s next for The Writings Of Dennis Earl?  How about more writing and expanding my readership? 

Stay tuned.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, October 30, 2010
10:50 p.m.

Published in: on October 30, 2010 at 10:50 pm  Comments (1)  

Katy Perry: Another Hot Girl I Won’t Be Getting

Oh, Katy Perry.  You big-eyed, big-bosomed pop star, you.  You had to do it.  You had to become unavailable and unattainable.  You had to break my heart by marrying a recovering sex addict.  That really hurts.

And now, we won’t be getting together.  I’ll never get to experience what your new husband is lucky enough to enjoy now:  the pleasure of your company. 

I’ll never learn firsthand about your struggles to make it in the record business (you were signed to 4 labels in almost a decade) and how you began as a Christian performer who gradually evolved into the sexually charged hitmaker you’ve become.  I’ll never become fodder for your material.  I’ll never be your muse.

I’ll never get to experience the sheer excitement of seeing you bouncing up and down for no reason whatsoever.  I’ll never learn why your chesty existence is too much for puppets.  And I’ll never be honoured with a private, impromptu performance.  Maybe you would’ve belted out something from an Italian opera.

Oh, the fun we could’ve had, Katy.  The long, intimate talks.  The quiet strolls down the street with my right hand in your left.  The endless makeout sessions.  The anatomical explorations. 

Your loss.

But alas, you’ve chosen another, someone far more experienced in these matters than this timid Canadian.  And yeah, I know.  The British accent is irresistible.  I get it.  And he’s employed.  And not living at home.  You’re killing me here.

How cool it would’ve been to help you catch up with the history of rock after a strict childhood deprived you of its emotional highs and comforting, cathartic tones.  I’d introduce you to some fantastic Canadian groups like Mobile, The Arcade Fire, Billy Talent and so many others, past and present.  You would learn so much so quickly.  (I seduce through useless trivia.)  We would bond over Jagged Little Pill, an important influence on your songwriting.

I’ll never learn about your experience within the perfume business.  (I like the name you’ve chosen for your upcoming fragrance:  Purr.  Sounds cute.)  And I’ll certainly be missing out on all the inside information you’re sure to have after making your feature film debut in The Smurfs next year.  I’m dying to know what you’ll look like as Smurfette.  I’m sure Elmo would faint at the sight of you.

We could’ve been something together, Lady Katherine.  But you’ve chosen a different path.  Hopefully, it’s the one that leads you to a lifetime of happiness.

It’s just as well.  When you’re a neurotic honky, you’re always fretting.  Katy Perry, you’re another hot girl I won’t be getting.

(Congratulations on your new marriage and good luck with your career.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, October 24, 2010
2:58 p.m.
Published in: on October 24, 2010 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

From The Published Archives: “Can we trust citizen journalists?”

Between April 2007 and January 2008, I contributed more than 100 pieces to Fading To Black, a blog devoted to covering “the downward spiral of the newspaper industry in the 21st century”.  Since this website made the transition from Windows Live Spaces to WordPress recently, certain content had to be left behind which included the complete lists of every FTB piece I ever posted.  Rather than bring back the lists, I’ve come up with a different approach.

Considering how long it’s been, I thought it would be interesting to revive some past offerings from my published archives which brings me to this item that was first seen on Fading To Black on November 17, 2007.  Pierre Burton’s son, Paul, was the editor-in-chief of The London Free Press at the time and would contribute weekly columns about the media.  That same day, he posted a commentary with the headline, “Can we trust citizen journalists?”, which I used in quotation marks for my own FTB commentary on his work.

In his column, he talks about the shocking Canadian scandal involving Robert Dziekanski, a young Polish construction worker and miner who was relocating to The Great White North to live with his mom in Kamloops.  Ultimately left befuddled, aggravated and scared after being stranded for 10 hours at the Vancouver International Airport on October 14th that year (his flight actually arrived two hours behind schedule on the 13th in the afternoon), Dziekanski, who spoke no English, eventually isolated himself in a secure area of the airport and start throwing things in a fit of rage.  Four overzealous RCMP officers, a mere 25 seconds after confronting him, used their tasers five times to try to calm him down.  The move worked too well.  He died.  He was only 40.  (Wikipedia has the whole story here.)

No one would’ve ever known about it were it not for Paul Pritchard and Sima Ashrafinia.   While the latter used her cellphone, the former secretly taped the 10-minute incident with a digital video camera and the footage (contained on a memory card) ended up initially in the custody of the police.  (For some inexplicable reason, they were not interested in Ashrafinia who actually tried to comfort Dziekanski.)  When they refused to return it to him (after initially promising they would after holding it for 48 hours), fearing a possible cover-up Pritchard hired a lawyer, was reunited with his footage and promptly sold it to the three major networks in Canada (CBC, Global and CTV) for an unspecified sum.  (CBC reported that it was “several thousand dollars” without giving an actual number.)  The revealing footage contradicted the RCMP’s official views of the matter.

The result was a firestorm of fierce criticism entirely directed at the RCMP as well as the Vancouver International Airport.  Several investigations were launched.  Although the officers responsible for Dziekanski’s death have never been prosecuted, the RCMP did apologize to his mother this past April Fool’s Day in a press conference.  Zofia Cisowski graciously accepted.  She also accepted an undisclosed financial settlement and later dropped her lawsuits against the law enforcement institution and the airport.  In June, Special Prosecutor Richard Peck announced that he uncovered new evidence about the case and advocated for its reopening.  Interestingly, according to (the final paragraph of the above link), three of the officers have since been relocated and have been demoted to “administrative duties” while the one that remains is in trouble for another incident, this one involving a vehicular fatality.  He’s already been suspended with pay.

Back to Berton’s column.  I was disappointed he didn’t firmly answer his own headline, a question that remains deeply relevant today considering the ongoing, unethical antics of Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.  So I answered it for him. 

Although you can still read this piece on FTB, I’ve decided to re-post it here with one major change.  In the original posting, you’ll see the words “full column” at the very end.  In 2007, clicking that part of the piece would take you to Berton’s original column which I quoted four paragraphs from.  Today, however, it’s a dead link.  However, when you click “full column” in my re-posting here, you’ll be transported to a different address which features the exact same column.  Enjoy.

“Can we trust citizen journalists?”

Paul Berton of The London Free Press has written a column about the potential usefulness of citizen journalists during a particularly dark period for professional reporters and newspapers. While noting the recent release of a video showing the fatal tasering of a Polish immigrant at a Vancouver airport last month by RCMP officers, he simply and persuasively explains that because of the seemingly endless rounds of layoffs, buyouts and corporate media downsizing, the press can’t always be at the right place at the right time to capture important news as it happens. There aren’t as many resources, financial and human, as there used to be.

Journalists cannot be everywhere, although news organizations have often tried. They know that simply being there can often mean the difference between ignominy and the industry’s biggest prizes.

That’s why we follow our political leaders around on otherwise dull tours where they give the same old speeches — we never know when they’ll say something different, when someone will do something unscripted or stupid, or when disaster will strike.

The spoils go to those who are there as it happens.

But with staffing forever being cut in the face of corporate realities, we are increasingly not there to see it happen. We “pick up” all kinds of stories after the fact, from those involved, from experts, from eyewitnesses . . .

Sadly, the headline to his column – “Can we trust citizen journalists?” – is purely rhetorical. He admits to being skeptical about citizen journalism but beyond offering general points about professionals who question the trustworthiness of amateur footage and how they argue that they’re better trained to report these kinds of important stories, he avoids taking a strong stance on either side of the issue.

There’s no question that footage of the Kennedy Assassination and the beatings of Rodney King and Reginald Denny, all captured by non-professionals, played pivotal roles in the coverage of those stories. But because these newsworthy events were recorded by ordinary citizens unfamiliar with the tenets of journalism, it was up to professional reporters to dig deeper to find as much relevant information as possible to put that footage into its proper context.

Raw footage that shows an event worthy of the public’s interest is invaluable. But professional, more responsible journalists who know how to mold that video, along with other pertinent facts, into an accurate report are more so. It’s a continuing shame that media corporations don’t agree.

}}}full column{{{

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
5:30 p.m.

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

5 Lessons Learned From Reading Eric Clapton’s Autobiography

1. Never attempt to introduce a nice old lady to John Lennon.

On page 52, Clapton recounts a rather revealing tale about the first time he met the famously tempermental Beatle.  While en route via subway train to a Yardbirds gig in late 1964, Clapton meets a nice old American lady who strikes up a conversation with him.  “She was lost and asking me for directions,” he wrote. 

During the course of their chat, the unnamed woman asks about his job and where his stop was.  When he mentioned he was going to a gig that would feature The Beatles, the woman excitedly asks if she can go with him to the Hammersmith Odeon where the show was to take place that night.  Clapton is up for it and even offers to introduce her to the members of the band backstage.

Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are absolutely lovely to her in their dressing room.  But not John.  According to Clapton, “he made a face of mock boredom and started doing wanking movements inside his coat.”.

Maybe his nickname should’ve been The Jerky Beatle.

2. Never ever try to take a whiz on the White House lawn.

It’s December 1998.  The famed guitarist has been invited to attend a special celebration commemorating the 30th Anniversary of The Special Olympics at the Clinton White House.  Well, actually, “in a tent on the White House lawn.”.  At one point, Clapton was “desperate to pee, but since finding a toilet would have meant going through complicated security and back into the main building, I decided to sneak out and water the lawn.”

Big mistake.  “I opened a flap in the tent and walked out into the darkness and had just undone my fly when I heard ‘Don’t move!’ and there was a SWAT man there, all in black and camouflage, pointing an M-16 at me.”

Clapton never reveals what happened next but I’m thinking he didn’t have to pee anymore.

3. Never introduce your new love interest to Mick Jagger.  He’ll inevitably steal her away from you.

In 1989, Clapton began an affair with Carla Bruni (her last name is curiously not mentioned), the gorgeous Italian model who was only 21 at the time.  (The guitarist was 44.)  They were introduced by a friend of the mother of his son, Conor, which already made the situation awkward.

It was about to get worse.  Clapton was working on the Journeyman album the same time that The Rolling Stones were passing through town on their Steel Wheels tour.  Bruni wanted to meet them. 

Big mistake.  As Clapton recalls, he made a personal plea to Mick Jagger:  “Please, Mick.  Not this one.  I think I’m in love.”.  (The singer tried very hard to snag Clapton’s first wife, Pattie Boyd, but remarkably, did not succeed.)  Unsurprisingly, as the guitarist feared, Jagger and Bruni hit it off.  While Clapton went out on tour, they began their own affair.

Things were never the same after that.  Bruni became more distant with Clapton who ultimately learned from some of her exes and that same friend that introduced them that she “tended to move through men quite quickly, sometimes quite ruthlessly.”. 

Nicolas Sarkozy, you’ve been warned.

4. It’s not impossible to get laid in rehab and get away with it.

During his first attempt to clean up his alcoholism, Clapton found that the Hazelden Centre was a great place to meet women, despite being incredibly risky.  As he recounts on page 203, “I did manage to have a couple of dalliances with girls without being caught.  I achieved this by somehow persuading my counselor that I was entitled to a room of my own, and once I got this, I set about trying to get girls to come and visit me.  I succeeded, but only at risk to other people who knew it was happening.  If they had been found out for not reporting me, we would all have been thrown out.”

Eat your heart out, Dr. Drew.

5. Heroin is the worst drug to be addicted to.

It turns you into a fat, impotent, suicidal insomniac with no desire to connect with the outside world and leaves open the lovely possibility of life-threatening ulcers and grand mal seizures.  Clapton had five of the former and two of the latter, yet lived to tell the tale.

Top that, Keith Richards.

(Special thanks to Dave Scacchi.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, October 15, 2010
6:55 p.m.

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christina Aguilera, I’m Here For You

You were a teenage pixie in the late 90s.  A little woman with a big, powerful voice.  A blonde latina who screamed hot, stinky sex.  World domination was inevitable.

Then, in the next decade, while in your early 20s, you met a guy who looks like Dave Gahan and appeared to be on the road to marital bliss.  You even made a baby together.  But after 8 years of togetherness, you’ve recently separated from your husband of five years.

Christina Aguilera, I’m here for you.  Rather than drift back into that awful depression you experienced years ago (all thanks to that awful, abusive father of yours you’ve wisely stayed away from), hang out with me instead.  We could serenade each other.  You’d show off your impressive pipes and I would reveal the severe limitations of my own.  Certainly worth a laugh or two.  We could rock out to my CD player or look for a Karaoke place.  Your choice.

You could enlighten me about Etta James, your favourite singer, and I could introduce you to some cool Canadian stuff in my CD collection.  We could talk about music all night long.  Or we could watch The Sound Of Music, one of your favourite movies.  (I’ve never seen it.)

I’d love to hear you tell stories about your days in The Mickey Mouse Club.  Or you could talk about your pet causes like your welcome support for gay rights (particularly gay marriage), environmental protections and victims of domestic violence not to mention the fights against breast cancer, AIDS and world hunger.  You’re quite the philanthropist and you could spend hours enlightening me on all these important causes.

Or we could go out dancing.  I have a lot of jiggle in my wiggle.  How ’bout we re-enact the Dirty video?  I’ll wear the assless chaps.

I would pay you endless compliments about your beauty, your soft, sexy speaking voice, and all the good work you’re doing on the charity front.  I would help you forget all about your separation.

Then again, maybe this isn’t a permanent split.  Maybe you’ll be able to work things out with Mr. Bratman.  (He seems like a nice guy.)  Hopefully, your little one will be ok, too.

In the meantime, I offer you this:

Don’t give in to sadness, whatever you do.
Christina Aguilera, I’m here for you.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
11:18 p.m.

UPDATE: It’s a permanent split.  Divorce papers have been filed.  I’m still here for you, Christina.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, October 14, 2010
6:08 p.m.

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Courtney Cox, I’m Here For You

When Bruce Springsteen specifically chose you, I knew you were special.  It was 1984.  He was shooting his Dancing In The Dark video and needed a beautiful young woman to join him up on stage for an impromptu dance session.  Despite your boyish haircut, you were cute as a button in your Born In The USA t-shirt and blue jeans grooving with The Boss to the sweet sounds of Clarence Clemons’ saxophone and the rest of The E-Street Band.

26 years and many TV shows and feature films later, you haven’t stopped being lovely.  But times are tough and have been for some time.  Your 11-year marriage is in trouble.  As a result, you’ve announced your separation.  True, you’re not getting divorced but we both know this is one step closer to the inevitable.

Courtney Cox, I’m here for you.   Why go through this difficult time alone?  Sure, I’m a walking beanpole who’s unemployed and lives with his parents but I’m a caring beanpole.  And cuddly, oh so cuddly.  But brittle, so easy on the squeezing.

We could talk about better times in your life like how you were the best girlfriend Alex P. Keaton ever had (you look much prettier with longer hair) and how you were able to wipe the stink of the first Ace Ventura movie off your reputation to play your best role on Friends.  I have the first five seasons on DVD so we could watch them in order. 

If you have some dry cleaning to pick up, I’ll be your pretend husband so you can get that 50% discount.  And when we go out for pancakes, you can use my maple syrup.  (Note to self:  stock up on maple syrup.)

I’d compliment your performance in the Cougar Town pilot, the funniest episode of the series, and remind you that this younger guy would love to be your prey.  You could tell stories about your guest star appearances on The Love Boat, As The World Turns and Murder She Wrote.  And you could enlighten me about the fourth Scream (hopefully, it’ll be as good as the first two).  You’re wonderful as Gale Weathers and I’m looking forward to seeing you in that role again.

We could also goof on your husband’s poor film choices like Ready To Rumble, Never Been Kissed, See Spot Run, Airheads and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  You could point out his faults over and over again and I would listen all day long. 

I could remind you endlessly of what he’s missing out on.  Your ageless sex appeal, good sense of humour, warm personality.  You know, being the best thing that’s ever happened to him.  But I wouldn’t want to bore you with my endless gushing.  Surely, you get that all the time, right?

Maybe this really will be a temporary split, as you say.  Maybe whatever disagreements you continue to have will be resolved during this time.  And maybe little Coco will be ok through this whole process, regardless of the outcome.

In the meantime, I offer you a two-line rhyme:

Don’t isolate yourself feeling like poo.
Courtney Cox, I’m here for you.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, October 11, 2010
11:56 p.m.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Odette Yustman: Another Hot Girl I Won’t Be Getting

Oh, Odette Yustman.  Your rosy dimples speak to me.  Your slinky body haunts me from afar.  Your smoldering dark hair and mysterious eyes add to your allure.   Your ruby red lips look as soft as pillows.

But you’ve broken my heart.  After an 18-month courtship, you’ve married the hunky Dave Annable.  Oh, if only you preferred this stay-at-home nerd with bad posture and scary choppers.  If only your taste was questionable.

But it isn’t.  You prefer the independent hunks with steady employment.  You want to make good-looking babies who aren’t neurotic and suffer from numerous food intolerances.  I understand.  I could never give you what you need.

Now that you’re off the market, I’ll never get to hear you whisper something sexy to me in fluent Spanish.  I’ll be missing out on all the gossip from the video shoot you did with Weezer and I’ll never hear your deeply personal Kindergarten Cop anecdotes. 

To put it simply, I’ll never get the privilege of getting close to you and knowing who you really are.  But as long as you keep making movies (hopefully better ones than The Unborn which wasn’t your fault), I’ll continue to admire your adorable attributes from a comfortable distance and imagine that there’s something special I’m missing out on.

It’s just as well.  If I stood next to you, I’d only be sweating.  Odette Yustman, you’re another hot girl I won’t be getting.

(Congratulations on your marriage and good luck with your career, young lady.  Many happy returns.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, October 11, 2010
11:53 p.m.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 11:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Laura Dern, I’m Here For You

You’ve just received the worst news of your entire life.  The man you’ve spent a decade with wants out of your five-year marriage and you’re probably reeling from this sudden rejection.  You thought everything was going ok but you were wrong.  Now you need a strong shoulder to cry on, a rock to guide you through this jagged emotional terrain, a steady fellow to ease your confused mind.

Laura Dern, I’m here for you.  Sure, I’m shaped like a toothpick, disappear when I turn sideways and laugh like a tortured hyena but you’d feel safe in my underdeveloped arms.  You could confide in me all the sadness, anger and frustration this recently unexpected development has no doubt brought out of you.  And I would listen to your every word.  I’m Canadian, after all.  It’s in the brochure.

I’d have an endless supply of tissues at the ready whenever you cry.  Feeling insecure?  I’d reassure you at every turn.  At 43, you’re still a youthful, blonde, blue-eyed beauty with a winning smile and an intelligent disposition.  Plus, you always come across as a warm human being.  We’d bond over our heights.

I’d remind you of your Academy Award nomination for Rambling Rose (we could watch it together since I’ve never seen it) and your fine performances in Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, October Sky and A Perfect World (we could watch those, too).  You could tell funny stories about your late godmother, Shelley Winters and your parents, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.  I’d love to hear you talk about your career, especially your appearance on the coming out episode of Ellen.  Talking about other stuff would give you a break from feeling sad.

Or you could even badmouth your exes including you-know-who for as long as you’d like and I wouldn’t hold it against you.  You have every right to be angry.  I’d join in the bashing.  Or leave you to it.  Whatever you prefer.

We could go dancing (I like to wiggle), have dinner or just chill.  Or we could break stuff and pretend it’s your husband.  We could go to a bar and throw darts at his picture.  Or we could hammer his music.  (If it helps at all, I didn’t like his 1995 CD, Fight For Your Mind.  His work is not welcome in my personal collection.)

You could talk about your charity work, most notably your association with Healthy Child Healthy World or we could argue about Barack Obama’s Presidency.  The latter topic would bring out a lot of passion in the both of us.  Passion is good, young lady, and it leads to, shall we say, enlightening scenarios of release.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you’ll feel better, that you’re able to resolve this issue quickly and gracefully, especially for the sake of your two kids, and that in time, you’ll find peace and move on with your life.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this parting couplet:

Don’t be sad and don’t be blue.
Laura Dern, I’m here for you.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, October 11, 2010
1:51 p.m.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

The WordPress Era Begins

After nearly 5 years on Windows Live Spaces, The Writings Of Dennis Earl is settling into its new home on WordPress.  I made the move yesterday afternoon.  For those still on Spaces who are hesitant about making the leap forward, you have nothing to worry about.  All your blog entries, blog comments and blog photos will safely make the trip here.  (Unfortunately, everything else will not so copy and paste the rest for safe keeping.)

Remember, you have until March 16, 2011 to decide whether you want to move your site to WordPress.  If you do nothing by then, Microsoft will automatically remove all your hard work for you on that date.   (You can delete your site yourself at any time before then.)  Even if you’re done with this whole baring-your-soul-online deal, I highly recommend you download your blog which you can save to your hard drive.  That way, you won’t lose anything blog-related.

Now that the Windows Live era has ended for me, it’s time to usher in the start of my WordPress period.  Already, I’m very pleased with the new digs.  For one thing, I have Stats again.  Not too long ago, Windows Live Spaces removed the Statistics page, so for a good number of months there was no way to determine how big or small my readership has been recently, a major pet peeve.  Knowing how many people are actually visiting this site again will help me sense how I’m doing.  Also cool is the fact that I’ll immediately know which pieces are being accessed and how often. 

After much perusing, I’ve settled on this classic light brown theme for the look of the site.  It has a historical feel to it which is appropriate because I’m thinking about writing more about the past than the present. 

For the first time in the history of this site, there’s a Search function.  You’ll find it adjacent to the title of this entry.  Underneath it are the same categories of blog entries that appeared on the old site.  The unfortunate thing about Windows Live was the limited amount you could create beyond the generic defaults.  On WordPress, I can add new ones.  Because of this, I’m thinking of going through every entry and recategorizing where appropriate.

Right below the categories are the archives which, for the first time, list the number of pieces I’ve posted per month.  Because of other priorities, I haven’t written nearly as much as I’d like to but thanks to this unexpected change of address, that is likely to change sooner than later.  I feel reinvigorated.

Underneath the archives is my Blogroll which now simply consists of names and linked addresses.  (I used to have descriptions as well on the old site.) Clicking on any one of them will open up a new window so you don’t lose your place here.  As I continue to explore the offerings on WordPress, I imagine there will be more additions to the right side of the blog to fill it out a bit more. 

I do have an About page but have no clue how to link it to the home page.  I hope to figure that out shortly.  In the meantime, you can access it directly by clicking here.  (UPDATE: You can now find it on the home page right above the Search window.)

Please feel free to post comments on specific entries or email me at the address provided underneath the title of my site.  Feedback is always welcome.

To those who have followed me from Windows Live, welcome back.  And to new readers just discovering The Writings Of Dennis Earl, you have a lot of catching up to do.  In the meantime, keep your eye on this space.  New pieces are coming soon.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, October 10, 2010
5:34 p.m.

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm  Comments (2)  

WordPress: The Future Home Of The Writings Of Dennis Earl

Since February 19, 2006, The Writings Of Dennis Earl has found a home on Windows Live Spaces.  For the most part, it’s been a happy partnership.  I’ve had complete creative freedom from the beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed the process of further developing as a burgeoning writer in a public forum.  The feedback I’ve received over the years has been mostly constructive and complimentary, and even the rare negative comments have been welcome, as well.  They keep me humble and help me to make necessary corrections.
However, change is afoot.  A couple of nights ago, I signed in here and discovered a surprising message from Microsoft (if you have your own Windows Live Space and have checked in recently, you know what I’m talking about).  By the middle of March next year, Windows Live Spaces will cease to exist.  That’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news.  Space owners will have until that time (March 16, 2011) to make an important decision about the future of their sites.  They can do nothing and let Microsoft delete all the contents of their address by mid-March or they can sign up with WordPress, a free blogging site that will preserve most of their Windows Live content (more on that in a moment).
Since I wouldn’t dream of deleting my space (especially after four and a half years of writing nearly 500 blog entries), I’ll be making the move to WordPress very soon.  Here’s some more good news.  Every piece I’ve posted in my blog will still be accessible on the new site.  Ditto every comment.  Unfortunately, all my lists, the guestbook, not to mention the theme and background of this site, will not make the trip.  Spacers, if you have drafted entries not yet completed for your own site as well as gadgets, they too will not be seen on WordPress. 
I’ll establish a new look and figure out what else can be done to fill out the space on the new site.  In the meantime, I want to thank you, the readers, for stopping by and checking out The Writings Of Dennis Earl over the years.  This will be my final posting on Windows Live Spaces (unless, of course, something last-minute deserves to be added here but that’s doubtful) so I want to express my deep appreciation to you for visiting this space and having a look at the stuff I’ve been posting.  I’m hoping that the move to WordPress will inspire more productivity, more readers, more comments and the possibility of earning a decent living doing something I love.  (If I could get back to broadcasting again as well, that would be even better.  I always wanted to be a Double Threat.)
In the meantime, you can follow my blog through NetworkedBlogs by clicking here.  (It’s totally free.)  When I’ve made the transition to WordPress, I’ll post an announcement on my NetworkedBlogs page and followers will be the first to know about the new location.  As I understand it, if you visit my Windows Live Space (after I make the move to WordPress) it will simply redirect you to the new site so everybody else will be able to find it easily.
Thanks again for visiting.  See you at the new place very soon.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, October 8, 2010
8:06 p.m.
Published in: on October 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm  Comments (1)