Facebook Drives Blog Traffic


I’ve been fortunate, with the help of others, over the last few months to really blow some shit up around here.  One post got 131 Facebook shares.  Traffic went through the roof.

Greensboro101 not so much.

I’ve had decent luck promoting blog posts with Twitter, but I’ve gotten out of the habit.  And my feed consists of a lot of Novorussians I gathered in 2014.

On a local level, Facebook can have an explosive impact.

Greensboro101 not so much.

And yet, my attempt to promote it on Facebook was met with creepy paranoia, so I killed the page.  It’s obvious the aggregator would enjoy huge free promotion on Facebook, leveraging a vibrant local online community, but Greensboro101 refuses to do it.

It’s weird.  It’s insane.  It’s a petulant child.

For several hours now, my previous post has languished as the featured link without any increase in traffic.  The site is essentially dead,  as a paean to traditional media should be, and thus goes the opp to monetize it.

Why does Mike Barber not want Greensboro101 on Facebook?

Creepy moment: having lunch with Roch and realizing you’re actually talking to Mike Barber.  Of course, I’m being myopic; it’s obviously Nancy Vaughan, too.  He throws up just enough trash for camouflage, but he’s for sale.

This is classic Greensboro.  He mounts an effort to bid for funds to provide citywide wi-fi, but is too fucking stupid to get on Facebook.  He’s a Luddite.

He’s worried his precious site will be soiled by Billy and George, when he’s the booger-eating moron.

It’a Coen brothers movie:  you have a guy who couldn’t program his way out of a wet paper bag spend over ten years cobbling together an RSS feed aggregator, finally getting it right and refusing to get on Facebook.

It’s Inside Llewyn Davis except he could actually sing.

He writes these elegiac criticisms of city policy regarding police body cams and goes entirely unnoticed because he isn’t on Facebook.  No wonder he’s disappointed in Greensboro.  The reality is we’ve long been disappointed in him.

Navel Gazing at the N&R


If this is any indication, the demise of Greensboro’s daily newspaper is imminent.

Last Thursday, Kate Elizabeth Queram wrote about her four hour wait for a free burrito.

Trust me, you do not want to see her Twitter feed, which is vapid beyond belief and chronicles her need to use the bathroom during public meetings.

Presumably, some diploma mill gave her a journalism degree and the N&R hired her.

This is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from millennials who appear clueless in the face of insoluble political issues.

Meanwhile, the N&R loses Joe Killian and ten years of institutional memory, while this child tweets about bring your dog day at work and what she’s having for lunch.

I can’t watch TV anymore and the movies available online are mostly drek, so I spend my discretionary time perusing news feeds and posting for the few of us who still care.

Postmodernism killed our culture by demonizing history.  All that remains are stream of consciousness content sans any allusions to what has come before.  These kids have no idea what is happening to them and no tools to deal with unprecedented societal collapse.

Those remaining serious journalists are killing these Twitter feeds and blocking Facebook posts in an attempt to filter the irrelevant in search of vital content.  And when they are gone, all who will remain are the ignorant navel gazers.

The Staley Waldorf


Unbelievably, it appears my time at Oscar’s home is coming to an end.

I had a nice surprise Tuesday afternoon and received the keys to my house with a prorated rent check. No cig smell or cats to deal with. Water came on Wednesday and power Thursday. TWC comes tomorrow.  I’m gonna miss the Staley Waldorf, but it will be nice to finally get in my own place.

We signed the separation agreement this morning, but I’ve worked all week.  This is not unusual.  We met in ’94 and married in ’96.  Until 2000, I carried a bag and went to Liberty everyday to program out of my house.  However, until a month ago, that bag hung out on the bed with all my possibles, to the cats’ delight.  In 2014, I got kicked out for six weeks after I got sued by the Tea Party and threatened by Marty Kotis, but I worked every day.  Last September, I moved the fucking store and visited my mom for a week afterward.  So hanging out in Staley for three weeks only required a couple of duffel bags.

Tonight, for dinner I’m having Pad Thai from Basil, another restaurant sponsored by Oscar and we’re very fortunate to have them.   Many evenings, I’ve shown up at Oscar’s lab with a six pack for the three gorgeous ladies.  Someday, perhaps I’ll relate the dreadful circumstances which lead to their employment.

Rather than a return to squalor and depravity, I’ve been treated to a magical experience.  Everyone has been so kind.  But of course, that is the Liberty I remember from ’83.  I’ve held up pretty well, but got a little misty-eyed on the way home, yesterday, and lost it after encountering a family trying to buy groceries with an EBT card.  Personally, I feel that if you are going to buy food on the dole, you have a responsibility to be surly.  I am simply not willing to put up with welfare families who are apologetic.  There should be a law.

Mike Barber’s Bid for Mayor


For over ten years, Roch Smith, Jr. has generated multiple iterations of Greensboro 101, his local aggregator.  Some of them, like the most recent, have been highly usable, and some not so much.  Inevitably, what could have been celebrations of local alternative media eventually turn into traditional media link whore fests, such as what we have now.

Each time, Smith begins with high hopes, but always becomes disenchanted due to the time and effort required to maintain the website.  However, it is not Greensboro’s fault that he is both creatively impotent and commercially autistic.  In those regards, he is a lot like many in this pathetic city: a child walking around in an adult’s body.  And like many such people, he is preyed upon by local politicians.

From Smith at YES! Weekly, last month:

Council members were copied on the denial, but only one, Mike Barber, had anything to say about it.

If, like me, you’ve been paying attention, this has become SOP for Smith.  His MO is to throw city council under the bus, miraculously pulling Mike Barber from beneath the wheels at the last moment, effectively allowing city council to be attacked on Barber’s behalf.

Barber is a local attorney and hypocrite who mocks poor kids for the PGA non-profit, First Tee of the Triad, by schooling them in morality and ethics at Gillespie Park.  He has been elected as a county commissioner and city councilman multiple times.  Despite the rumor currently being floated that he will retire at the end of this term, nothing could be further from the truth.  As a Democrat, he has no purchase on power in Congress or the Legislature.  Therefore, his next obvious move is to occupy the current political vacuum as mayor.

That’s where Smith comes in.  Another of his pathetic ambitions is a website designed to run political campaigns and I suspect his loyal service will be rewarded as Barber’s campaign manager.  That alone should be sufficient to guarantee Barber’s defeat, regardless of his challengers, but I’m not willing to take that chance.

If the past is prologue, we can expect Barber to continue taking popular positions on important issues at variance to council majority, when his opinion cannot alter the decision, but merely cast him in a favorable light, of course with Smith’s help.

Mike Barber’s Blogger


For the first time in years, I failed to mock and shame the recent Wyndham Championship, primarily because nothing new came up and I am tired of repeating the same things.  Also, there is something else I have been wanting to say for awhile.

Local blogging pioneer and proprietor of Greensboro 101, Roch Smith, Jr., enjoys unrivaled access to city hall.  He gives the appearance of treating city staff with respect, but that is not the reason for his access.  The reality is that for years he has enjoyed the protection of Greensboro city councilman, Mike Barber.

Smith is a creep with no professional website, even though he is supposed to be a web developer.  He has no presence on Facebook, which is also weird.  He regularly features his own posts on Greensboro 101, changes the titles of other’s posts and denies Billy Jones, another local blogging pioneer, access, presumably due to a lack of journalistic standards.

Barber once called Jones and local gadfly, George Hartzman, the village idiot and the town drunk.  The truth is they do not appear on Greensboro 101 because Barber doesn’t want them to.  Barber is a corrupt politician who mocks poor kids for a living on behalf of the PGA.  For years, he has also had at least one local blogger in his pocket.

Any appearance of fairness on Greensboro 101 is subterfuge.  Jones and Hartzman, who enjoy immense popularity, deserve to be included, regardless of Barber’s wishes.

Zack’s Drug Dealer


From Jeffrey Sykes at YES! Weekly, last week:

Police were able to use surveillance video to make an arrest of a vandal caught in the act of destroying windows at a remodeled building on Lewis Street in Downtown Greensboro.

Greensboro police charged Edward Council, 54, of Greensboro on Tuesday with misdemeanor injury to personal property. Council’s address was listed on court documents as 407 E. Washington St. That address is the location of the Interactive Resource Center, a day center for the homeless.

The last time I approached this subject, I had accused some downtown muralists of being fascists.  A few days later, Eric Robert‘s property was vandalised for the first time.  Once the arrest took place, I waited an appropriate amount of time for the inevitable intel to come in.  What I can tell you now is that the muralists, who receive funds from DGI, are angry at downtown property owners who have not fallen in line with their artistic vision and have requested that something be done about it.  Of course, millennial whiners aren’t actually capable, so DGI head, Zack Matheny, took control.

My sources indicate that Zack spends the day in the back of his limo, going up and down Elm Street from Lee to Fisher, having meetings with property owners and proprietors.  His most recent effort marshaled a bookstore owner and a spoiled rich kid to pick on Sidney Grey and Quinn Miller about their derelict properties in the 300 block.  Typically, that all blew up when Nancy Hoffman got in trouble for impinging on Grey’s property.

Nevertheless, Zack had a homeless drug dealer with whom to deal with Robert and others who failed to get in line.  We’ve known for years that the real object of DGI was acting on behalf of downtown property owners to keep other people out.  Robert, by virtue of not being financially desperate, has always gone his own way and paid the price for it.  The morning of the first vandalism, I drove downtown and spoke to him:

Sure, I’ve hired muralists, but I never told them what to paint.

Robert is fortunate to only be buying glass.  Facing down the downtown mural nazis is dangerous business.  Normally, they’re harmless, but now that they’ve taken DGI money, the full weight of Uncle Milty and Roy Carroll come into play.  This is fascism to be sure.

Molly


I’m on my sixth beer.

Work went like a dream, today.  All the trouble started when I got home.

I live with a cockatoo named Molly, who can break 100 decibels anytime she chooses.  But we’re friends and I managed to change her water and food with no problems.  The same with the other bird, maybe a parakeet, who’s 30 years old.

The cat and I are getting along great.  Apparently, there’s a black racer which likes to prey on mice, hanging out under the MGA, loitering with a flat tire in the garage.  And I’ve told you about the groundhog.

But what I’ve not told you about are the flipping ducks.  I’ve not found the koi food yet, but they seem OK.  However, tonight I was supposed to feed the ducks.  I found the meal in the garage and the feeder where it belonged.  I increased the water in their pond.

It’s about time I yammer on a bit about how this place is a sort of monastery, and as an ascetic, this has been a real retreat for me, discovering koi ponds and groundhogs as I have.  The exercise has been a tonic.  And yet, I get to work with the Wife, whom I enjoy being around.

At first, I was bothered by the idea of animals being kept in cages,  but it suddenly dawned on me that I choose to put myself in cages all the time.  It may be that Molly, who is about 20 years old, with her protestations, is simply trying to be the best bird she can be.  I would have to be a fool not to be affected by their work ethic.

Still, I won’t have any birds in Liberty, where a couch has been put to the road.  I realize this is a tremendous hardship upon my tenant.  However, she always has a cigarette in her hand and is forever praising Jesus, neither of which compels me to be sympathetic.  Regardless, in a day or two, I’ll call her and inquire as to her disposition with the assurance that I understand and am responsible for her plight.  Rather than “that asshole who gave me 30 days to get out,” I will be reasonable.

I’ve tried her number and it is disconnected.

I really must thank the Wife again for my newfound vocation: discovering koi ponds:

Our suburbs fall apart quickly when they are not maintained. The miles of asphalt and concrete roadway, the vast expanse of front and back yards, the facades of fake rock and supposedly maintenance-free vinyl… these all take immense time and spare resources to keep them in order. America’s suburbs are not financially viable, even with the affluent living in them. As the poor become more of a presence there, it’s hard to see how these places can keep from unraveling.

Seriously, there’s a local aquascape company Oscar kept busy during several hard winters.  His financial benevolence to the community is without rival in my personal experience.  I’ve known him for twenty years and worked for him for sixteen.  If you know someone who is always swinging for the fence, you’ll understand.

Oscar is quite simply the person I know who most embodies Jesus, and that includes Ed Cone.  That his garden needs tending and there are fruit flies in my bedroom are transcendent.

OK, you really can’t say that kind of thing without getting into specifics.  The best way I can explain is that there are people for whom he has bought homes and paid for college, but that really doesn’t get down to it.  Let me just say that just as Jesus cared for the least of us, Oscar dwells in a world not of pleasure and privilege, but a maddening Hell of constantly  being harried and responding to those most hopelessly addicted.

In an age of neoliberalism, Oscar, despite the neglect, has always portrayed the personal example for me of a complete life, with passion for life and compassion for others.