Monday, December 13, 2004

[Poetry] Visitor From The Past

by Thelen Paulk

I had a dream the other night I didn't understand.
A figure walking through the mist with a flintlock in his hand.
His clothes were torn and dirty, as he stood there by my bed.
He took off his three cornered hat and speaking low, he said:

We fought a revolution, to secure our liberty.
We wrote the Constitution, as a shield from tyranny.
For future generations, this legacy we gave,
In this, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

You buy permits to travel, and permits to own a gun.
Permits to start a business, or to build a place for one.
On land that you believe you own, you pay a yearly rent.
Although you have no voice in choosing, how the money's spent.

Your children must attend a school that doesn't educate.
Your Christian values can't be taught, according to the state.
You read about the current news in a regulated press.
You pay a tax you do not owe, to please the foreign I.R.S.

Your money is no longer made of silver, or of gold.
You trade your wealth for paper, so your lives can be controlled.
You pay for crimes that make our Nation turn from God in shame.
You've taken Satan's number, as you've traded in your name.

You've given government control, to those who do you harm,
So they can padlock churches, and steal the family farm.
And keep our country deep in debt, put men of God in jail.
Harass your fellow countrymen, while corrupted courts prevail.

Your public servants don't uphold the solemn oath they've sworn.
They defy and rape the nation, and leave it's fabric tattered, torn.
Your leaders ship artillery and guns to foreign shores.
And send your sons to slaughter, fighting other people's wars.

Can you regain the freedom for which we fought and died?
Or don't you have the courage, or the faith to stand with pride?
Are there no more values for which you'll fight to save?
Or do you wish your children to live in fear as a slave?

People of the Republic arise and take a stand!
Defend the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land!
Preserve our Great Republic, and God Given Right!
And pray to God, to keep the torch of Freedom burning
As I awoke he vanished, in the mist from whence he came.
His words were true, we are not Free, we have ourselves to blame.
For even now as tyrants trample each God Given Right,
We only watch and tremble, too afraid to stand and fight.

If he stood by your bedside, in a dream, while you're asleep,
And wonders what remains of our Rights he fought so hard to keep,
What would be your answer, if he called out from the grave;

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Poetry at 12/13/2004 01:19:31 PM

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

[Advice] Using 'topics' or 'categories' in Blogger

So you want to have Topics/Categories in Blogger...

It's easy... once you've done all the hard stuff.

[UPDATE: As with most things, there are more than one way to do Topics/Categories... See the comments for this post for more options. Thanks, Everyone! —JBH]

As has been posted elsewhere on Blogger, the way to go about this is to have a separate blog set up for each Topic you wish to have. For example, you'll notice that I have 7 topics (when this entry was written) listed on the left sidebar. If you hover over the links, you'll see that each is actually its own blog ('Home' is the main blog).

The way they're "posted" to the main blog is by setting a BlogSend Address on each topic (use the same one for each topic). This "catcher" email account must have the ability to filter incoming emails and forward them out to a different email address. Your email filter will then post your blog topic entries back to the main blog.

So, whenever you want to set up a new topic, you simply click on the "GET YOUR OWN BLOG" link at the top right of the screen, then follow the instructions below and your new topic will show up on your main blog.

Set up "Main" Blog

The first thing you want to do is set up your main blog. Blogger will help you with all of that. I suggest setting up your topics with the same template and description as your main blog, so you'll want to make note of those things for the future setup of the topics.

Special settings for the main blog. Two things need to be set up for the main blog to "catch" the categories.

The first is on the blog itself. Go to Settings and then click on Email. You'll need to identify a Mail-to-Blogger Address and check the Publish box. Remember the address you set up; you'll need it for the second thing. This is the email address you can use to 'send' a blog entry to your blog for publish.

Next, you'll need to decide on an email box where you can route your topics back to main. I use Google's Gmail, which has great filtering abilities. You'll need to set up a filter that will take your blog topics and forward them to the "Mail-to-Blogger Address" you set up on your main blog. You'll have to experiment with the filter options to make sure only your blog entries are forwarded to the main blog.

(Note: When using Gmail, I also "Skip the Inbox" and give it a label of "Blog.")

Creating a "Topic" Blog

Now, you're ready to create a topic. Simply create a new blog. Give it a name (don't include the main blog's name) and a URL (I recommend that you include the main blog's name).

Settings. Some things will be the same as the main blog, some things will be different.

Things that are the same: Description and Template. (We'll actually modify the Template in a future step, but you want the look and feel to be the same.)

Things that are NOT the same:

  • Basic - Add your Blog to our listing?: No
  • Comments - Comments: Hide
  • Site Feed - Publish Site Feed: No
  • Email - BlogSend Address:
  • Email - Mail-to-Blogger Address: blank

Now, if this is all you do, you can post entries to your Topic Blog and they'll show up on your main blog, eventually. I say, 'eventually,' because Blogger doesn't appear to post Mail-to-Blogger entries immediately. So, there will be a lag time where your item will be on your topic blog, but not the main.

[UPDATE - 9 June 2006: I'm not sure if Blogger has been reading through this post, but they seem to have fixed the lag time, too. Thanks, Blogger! —JBH]

Main v. Topic Templates

As I said, you'll want the Templates to look the "same," but there are some modifications you'll probably want to make to each to make the overall blog experience more seamless for your readers.

(For the purposes of these examples, I'll use "Billy Joe Jim Bob" as the title of the main blog.)

Title bar. The default page title—that is, the title that's displayed on your browser title bar—is the name of the blog. In this case, the name of the blog is simply your topic name, with no mention of the main blog at all. To remedy this, you'll need to make the following edit in your template.




<title>Billy Joe Jim Bob - <$BlogPageTitle$></title>
Page Title. Next, you'll want to modify the Title that appears on the page. Search your template for '$BlogTitle' and you should find something that looks like this.

<h1 id="blog-title">

<MainOrArchivePage><a href="<$BlogURL$">"></MainOrArchivePage>



(Aside. [The following is not required for posting topics, but is useful in understanding how the page will work. —JBH] The <MainOrArchivePage> tags tell Blogger to only show this part on the main page or an archive page for the blog. Basically this means it will not draw this portion of the code on the "detail" pages—the 'permalink' pages. In the above case, what that means is that the BlogTitle is not a link on the detail pages, but IS on the main and archive pages. I didn't like that "functionality" so I removed those tags from this section altogether.)

So, here's how that might look, showing the main blog title along with the topic. Note that I've chosen to make the main blog title be a link to the main blog.


<h1 id="blog-title">
<MainOrArchivePage><a href="<$BlogURL$">"></MainOrArchivePage>




<h1 id="blog-title">
<a href="">Billy Joe Jim Bob</a> - <a href="<$BlogURL$>"><$BlogTitle$></a>

Comments. Since you've hidden comments, you'll want to point your readers back to the main blog to leave comments on the post there. I haven't yet come up with an algorithm for pointing directly to the comments form of the given entry on the main blog, so I've simply added the following after the section that begins with 'posted by...'

<a class="comment-link" href="">Comment from the Home page</a>

Topics in sidebar. One last thing you'll probably want to do is add your topics to the template. Look for a line that looks like this:

<!-- Begin #sidebar -->
Under this line—placement at your discretion—you'll add something that looks like this:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Topics</h2>

<ul class="archive-list">
<li><a href=""> Home</a></li>

<li><a href=""> Advice</a></li>

<li><a href=""> Beards</a></li>

<li><a href=""> Poetry</a></li>

<li><a href=""> Reading</a></li>

<li><a href=""> Scrapbook</a></li>

<li><a href=""> Thoughts</a></li>

(Caveat. Whenever you add a new topic, you'll need to update this section on all of your topics and the main and republish all of them.)

One more thing. One problem I've noticed with this method—at least when using Gmail—is that each post messes up the formatting on the main blog and you have to edit the post there to fix it. Unfortunately, Blogger sends <head> and <body> tags with the post to the BlogSend email address, and, unfortunately, Gmail just passes it on. What happens is that the HTML for the blog page then has two of each of these and it causes the Blogger NavBar to get hosed.

To fix it, edit the post in the main blog and remove those tags. Publish and it'll be fixed.

[UPDATE - 5 June 2006 Blogger has removed the head and body tags when posting to the BlogSend email address. Thanks, Blogger!! —JBH]


Having topics is a nice-to-have that Blogger doesn't offer. This is one way to make it do it. It's not a trivial process for the blogger, but it does offer some benefits to the reader.

Addenda and Errata. If you come up with some better processes to make this flow more smoothly, please let me know and I'll modify this entry on my blog. Likewise, if something is unclear or doesn't work the way I stated here, please let me know and I'll fix it.

As it has some value to many using this service, I will place a high-profile link on my blog so that it will always be easily accessible and edits will be easy to find.

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Advice at 12/7/2004 08:22:02 AM

Monday, December 06, 2004

[Advice] The Twelve Days of Christmas -- Start a Holiday Tradition

Mike Noel has a great suggestion for you men out there looking to bless your wives. As he says, "it's not rocket science," but I'll let him share it with you in his own words.

Here's an excerpt:

"As Christmas approaches each year I look forward to continuing a tradition that I started a few years ago. On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas Day I give my wife a small gift. While this idea was inspired by the song I don't actually give the gifts that the song suggests. She might like the five golden rings each year but I doubt she'd have much use for eight maids a milking, or the swans, or the geese, and so on. Instead, I give her small gifts that are sometimes sentimental, sometimes useful, and sometimes just funny."

Keeping reading...

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Advice at 12/6/2004 08:58:26 AM

Thursday, December 02, 2004

[Poetry] The Patriarch

by Doug Phillips

More noble than the valiant deeds of shining knights of yore,
More powerful
than terran plights that make the rich man poor,
More kingly than an earthly throne or a lion with his pride,
Is he whose babes sleep well at night, sure Daddy will provide.

There is a spirit in this land, and Jezebel's her name.
She's calling you to leave your home for power, fun, and fame,
She wants your wife, your children, too; she'll never compromise,
Until your house is torn in two by listening to her lies.

But though a hundred thousand million men may fall prey to her lures,
And wives en masse leave home in search of more fulfilling chores,
Though preachers praise and friends embrace her pagan plan of death,
Stand strong and quit you like a man with every blessed breath.

Stand strong and rise, O man of God to meet this noble call.
The battle is not new you see, it's been here since the Fall.
Your wife is your helpmeet, my friend, not another man's,
So care for her and keep her far from Mistress Jezebel's plans.

Protect, provide, and give to her your undivided life,
This is the dear one of your youth, your precious bride, your wife.
Rally to those tiny ones who trust you for their care,
A lifetime spent discipling them is a lifetime pure and rare.

For when they put their hand in yours and know a daddy's love,
You're showing them a picture of the Father from above.
So look not to worldly goals of gain or for your liberty.
Look only into their sweet eyes to find your ministry.

Devote your heart and sacrifice and make your manly mark,
There is none so great as he who finds his call as PATRIARCH!

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Poetry at 12/2/2004 07:33:38 PM

[Poetry] The Glove and the Lions

by James Leigh Hunt

King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day, as his lions fought, sat looking on the court.
The nobles filled the benches, with the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valor and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.

Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another,
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."

De Lorge's love o'er heard the King, a beauteous lively dame,
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same;
She thought, The Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.

She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"By Heaven," said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat;
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Poetry at 12/2/2004 01:58:54 PM

[Poetry] Sonnet 116

by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

(also prominent in the Emma Thompson screenplay version of "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen)

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Poetry at 12/2/2004 01:17:22 PM