Thursday, March 8, 2018


DISCLAIMER: This article makes no factual claims about BuzzFeed. As a matter of fact, I find it difficult to read BuzzFeed. But, I use the name “BUZZFEED” in quotation marks to symbolize “hip“, “trendy”, “social media” blogs who promote webinars on how to write in their cool style.

Apparently everyone under the age of 45 reads these, “hip”, “trendy” “with it” blogs. Okay, I am someone older than age 45, that’s about 20 years ago in my rear-view mirror. But, I blog. My blog has been pretty successful, I think – 1,000 readers from around the world a month. Okay, that’s not actually successful at all, even as Boomer blogs are judged. I’ve tried to promote it - I use social media advertising, not effectively, but I do use it. That’s probably why I’m “hot” in Pakistan. Also, China lifted its ban on my blog for using the name: Tien**man Square. My readership in China plummeted from 13 to 0.
To get more readers, other than Pakistan and the 13 regulars in China (I think it’s an ESL class), my blog needs some youthful-ness like “BuzzFeed”, "Bang Pop", "Shenanigans" or other popular blogs. Why not? I can do this. Like they say: “pump the ride”. (They? Like I say! And, why did I write pump the ride in quotes?) Let’s roll. Let’s do this.
“BuzzFeed” has a style, a less than age 45 style. The webinar was “all over” changing my style. I’m a man 65 years old +. I’m in my Mystic Phase, okay?  Insight happens. It’s hard to forget all your mistakes and get stupid again. Okay, that’s a lie.
I can’t actually become younger. Should I try? Does that mean I have to get into the lifestyle of someone 20 years younger? Wear a Red Sox cap backwards? Only wear my Bernie hoodie with the hood hiding my face? Pull my cargo-shorts below my tidy-whities? Drink power drinks and eat pizza? (Uh, this may not work. I’ve got just a lit-tle belly-fat and there’s always the hypoglycemia. And, all the salt may fire off the blood pressure and nullify my cardio-meds. I’ll call my Doc tomorrow.)
Okay, safer to try to write younger. Change my style. Think like a 40-something. Phase shift backwards in my mind. Change the topics I write about: Cookie Math, Hilariously real Tweets, Kanye West celebrity orgy, or Cat Memes. Use the word “whatever” a lot. Whatever.
Since I don’t have a consistent style, it couldn’t be too hard to change, right? After all, it’s not like I’m Ernest Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson (remember them? Anybody?). My subject matter is not highly focused like Hemingway’s. At least I’m not consistently writing about bullfights or marlin fishing and then have to try to change into a successful “BuzzFeed” format. I definitely will not wind up with a headline like “27 Ways To Set The Hook!” or “9 Snarky Things To Say To Sharks.”
The webinar suggested I start by re-writing the hedlines of my last three blog posts in “BuzzFeed” style. What were my last three posts? “The Invisibles”, “We Pretend We Don’t Pretend” and “I Wrote This Post With Dahlias”. Oh, boy... this is gonna be brutal! Let’s “BuzzFeed”, ‘em, shall we, let’s kick butt!

I want what young readers want. My blog has been too introspective, too personal, too old guy. Topics are reflections on aging. My aging. Greying. Slowly, creeping decrepitude. Good god, nobody cares about this! I even wrote one whole post about arthritis and my total knee replacement. Geez, Jean! Stop that! Young! Write young! Think “BuzzFeed” style! Young, bright, Kanye in bed with whatever! Okay. I got it.
Statistics. The webinar said young people – meaning people alive - love statistics. Statistics make things relevant. Earthly. Useful. People want to know the science behind the story. One side of my soul says embrace the hard, the concrete, the practical, the day-to-day. That’s not you! It’s what’s  most relevant to 99.999% of the people living on earth. The other side of my soul says I am tired of material life and want the spiritual. <sigh> Change is hard. But, “27 research studies say using statistics in headlines captures attention.”
     Okay, Bzzzzzzzz!
     “The Invisibles” was about the life force called by Freud, “EROS” and about the invisible force of Death, THANATOS. How about this “BuzzFeed”-style re-writes: “3 Ways Hormones Go Wild! Thank You, Eros!”
Blew your hair back on your shaved head, didn’t it? Not your daddy’s kinda headline.
     “We Pretend We Don’t Pretend” was about how society does not reflect our personal values. The play on words was confusing. Get concrete, Jean! How about: “2 Reasons Your Neighbor Owns So Many Glocks”.
Got the attention of you gun toters, didn’t that?
     Next - “I Wrote This Post In Dahlias” and then I posted photos of dahlias which I will re-photograph during the season. Oooh, boy. This is a toughie! The webinar gave us very explicit instructions about using sexual language (do it!). Flowers, after all, are all about sex. Not to mention the honey bees! I’ll revise this one in a minute.
Pump the ride.

So, here’s how I will henceforth use “BuzzFeed”-style to pump this blog:

Step 1 – everything has to have steps.
First, like I said, statistics. Where does “BuzzFeed” get statistics? I started combing the daily paper and I started lurking and listening to people at the brewpub. It’s easy! You just pay attention to life! Here’s what I got:
Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the exclamation point!

Step 2 – Use Power Words like “carnage” and “brutal”. These are magnetic and draw readers. Also, “doubt” is a great attractor. This generation feels put down. They read anybody who tells them why they are failing.
Bet-ter? Is this Better?

Step 3 – Sexual Innuendo.
It’s a game of manipulation, isn’t it?
“Buzz” and “Feed” create the buzz and feed it with small facts. Innuendo is carefully constructed words. Not real sexual descriptions.
Now, I need to dial up sexual references in my blog. Lust, sex, passion, that’s what people are looking for, by “people” the webinar said that the 20-30 year olds are actually “sexting” one another.
Sex-ting? Really? You 40-somethings do that? O-kay.
I really don’t think any readers of any age want a 67-year-old man sex-ting in a blog – especially my readers in Pakistan or China.  Besides, I think I can remember what I think “sexting” would have been if, and it’s a big if, we had the technology for selfies which we thankfully didn’t.  
Writing the sexy headlines are tough enough. How will it read when I write “hot sex passionate deep wise ‘seasoned’ sexting headlines?” Here we go!
“FLOWERS “DEFLOWERED” BY LICKING HONEY BEES – “It’s just TOO good!” The Big Red Dahlia Said.”

Okay, that’s enough, Jean, stand down. (At my age, I probably shouldn't have written that.) Roll Viagra commercial.

Thank you “Write LikeBuzzFeed’ Webinar”, I can already imagine the six new reasons six new readers will soon be flocking in to read my blog.

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Dear Readers - this is to introduce you to the Cornucopia Institute - and also a belated report from my friends at Frey Vineyards who were affected by the fire a few months ago. This is a report from Katrina Frey from Cornicopia's Opinion/ Editorial section.

 I came across Cornucopia Institute at the recent MOSES conference which I attended in LaCrosse, WI. While it may not be obvious, I am very involved with organic / biodynamic farming and gardening.  -- Jean

The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

An Update on Frey Vineyards

October 17th, 2017 
Cornucopia’s Take: The Frey family has been a longtime leader in the organic and Biodynamic communities. They were an important voice in responding to powerful elements in the wine industry who wanted to change the federal regulations banning artificial preservatives in organic wine (sulfites).
The family has lost their homes but certainly not their spirit to continue, and we are so happy that none of them were killed or injured in the terrible fires that have burned north of San Francisco.


Recently I flew from San Francisco to Washington D.C. leaving SFO at 5 p.m. and arriving IDA at 1 a.m. I had to catch another flight at 8 a.m. I was too cheap to spend the money for a few hours in a hotel room. “Not enough time.” I thought. So, I spent the night in the airport sleeping on the vinyl benches.
The whole surreal experience reminded me of Dante’s description of one of the rings in the Purgatorio. With the dim fluorescent lighting, I couldn’t even cast a shadow like a "shade". It put me in touch with homelessness. I realized that a great deal of our lives are lived in these in between places where we have to spend time - the waiting rooms of life where we are stuck between things.
That's why I admire my wife - she's a knitter and a resourceful, practical person. She keeps herself occupied. Apparently knitters do not suffer the agony of waiting. She just kept click-clicking away. Knitters were not mentioned by Dante. (But knitters should not get the "big head" they weren't mentioned in Paradisio either.) Eventually the clicking of her needles only added to my misery.
If I feel I do not have enough time available to accomplish any one of my very self-important tasks, I'll sit in dull resentment. Rather than computer solitaire, I’ll apparently take sub-loathing in Purgatory. Not in the dark. Not in the light. Not quite living. Not quite dead. To paraphrase Chis Kristofferson, “...not quite truth, not quite fiction a walking contradiction taking every wrong direction on his lonely way back home.”

Read the complete chapter here:

And, then buy the book! Bubblish has the links to the online retailers.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


I have sorted the posts by every six months so you can more easily find so new starters for your deeper research.

Cold Hard Truth – Monet And The Debacle Of The Heart

A grudge is like a rock in the belly. It's like a weight that holds your spirit down. It's like a wall that keeps you from enjoying life with the other person.

The truth is that when you treat others with a cold hard heart, you wind up being the one who is treated hard and cold… and it eventually blows up your life. Things break apart. People drift away.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


FEB 21 – MAR 20: 
Magnanimity Becomes Love
OPPOSITE: Criticism, Comment

You are invited to follow along with the calendar and post your insights each month.

1) HOW DOES THIS WORK? During the specific period from the 21st of one month to the 20th of the next, consider the virtue transition set - and the opposite. Observe nature and yourself.

It is never clear to me during the period how the transformation can or will be achieved in nature - or within myself. But, this is a meditative exercise and we are asking you to share your experience of the transformation of one virtue to the other. Just re-read the transition as stated. Then observe nature - or a part of nature - and consider the transition statement again. Then, how is it for you? And, consider the opposite. See if an insight, feeling or phrase arises for you. Write that down and post it. How you get that insight - may or may not be similar to anyone else's experience. That's why this is research. There is no one answer.

2) Then, when you are approaching the 20th of the month - the end of the period - you are welcome to come back to the bLog and post brief (150 - 200 words or so) insights in the COMMENTS section on the appropriate post. You can post at any time.

3) The next period begins the 21st.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Originally published in July 2014 under a different title. There is a lot of brokenness these days. It is all about Love and Armor. I have posted past posts in separate pages so you can read the summaries and read them again if you wish. Enjoy!
How quiet it is after the shouting. Why is there no way to take back those words? How bitterness seems to hang in the air like a color or light or a tone of dread from a wind chime that won’t stop. The look in the baby’s eyes. How the cord of wood outside feels like neatly stacked body parts. The small mole which I do not have the time nor the inclination to have looked at. Where the water in the cove goes when the tide goes out – where your love goes when our tide goes out. Why I always have this feeling that this always is my fault. The way you lift your lip in that little snarl which looks like you are smelling something foul. I am probably to blame for the bitter coffee, too? Why the hell the neighbors slam their window? If we only have one car how can I go away? We don’t talk about Tenderness yet.

     This is all about Love and Armor and Tenderness. Vulnerability and Brokenness. Maybe we can meet in our Brokenness. Brokenness is a small playground around the corner where we can sit on the low kiddie swings and talk about imperfections and failures and Angels. There are needles strewn about and empty whisky bottles.  It is ugly. The children don’t want to play there. Occasionally there are gun shots when the drug dealers shoot off cheap pistols they are taking in trade for heroin. This is were we must go with our Hearts in re-usable shopping bags. Such is love in our tattooed era. We have skin in this game.

     The guts to do it.
     The 12 nerves of the solar plexus to fire off all together when I whisper “Love Will” and cause a total reversal and spontaneous healing. Virgo of the inner constellation.
     The creation of a new Heart comprised of both. Two beats - systole and diastole. Giving and receiving.
     But I hesitate. It’s a risk. I am unsure.
     Healing is a risk.
     Neither one of us is good at giving or receiving. We need practice. Meet in our brokenness and practice.
It’s one of those things we don’t talk about when we don’t talk.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 16, 2018


     I am a husband. The women in my wife’s weekly knitting circle, cover the relationship spectrum: women who are married, a divorcee, a widow, one LGBT and one “old maid”. 
     In this group, the word “husband” is more normally associated with the words: “gutters”, “sofa”, "recycling" or “track lighting” than with the term “French Tickler”. 
     Why am I not surprised? My beloved wife and I have been married 40+ years and in all those years my weekly “honey do” list, generated by my winsome wife, has not once included “do honey”. And worse, almost weekly these gals shake their heads and lament that the men in their lives have all sagged to late middle-age entropy and are no longer exciting! But, what they count as “exciting” is never sexual. 
     I’ve asked my wife. She says sex never comes up.  I’ll bet. 
     What is a "hot topic" in the knitting group is lamenting that the men won’t  re-face the kitchen cabinets, re-paint the kitchen, or deck the attic floor! And, they can’t drag them to Sheep&WoolCon. 
     For myself, this is frightening. I am not competent with carpentry. I am a guy who posted on Facebook a photo of the hole in the bedroom ceiling I punched when I stepped off of a rafter in the attic.
    Thankfully, my “get up and go” hasn’t “got up and went”. I speak a little French. (Wink, wink.) And, I like to dance. Never underestimate the magnetic power of good Swing Dance or Texas 2-Step.

     You men out there, consider this a warning flag. Apparently it gets worse. When couples divorce or the husband dies, sex and home repair apparently are the MOST sought after!  
     The divorcee of the group affirmed that middle-aged men on internet dating sites she frequents, the ones who can talk about re-facing cabinets are THE most sought after.

     I wanted to be a vigilant husband. Observant. Defiant. I do not to step into personal adaptation. Adaptation to the ordinary, the day-to-day, the common, the boring for me! 
     I do not want to join the species of middle-aged husbands who are known by their most favorite flannel shirts. They are the routine of the day. These men in plaid flannel are the "albatrosses", hanging around the neck of the women in the knitting circle.
     Our former Italian teacher stopped by the knitting group last Sunday afternoon just to visit. So, I came downstairs from ironing my flannel shirts. 
     The topic slipped quickly to the teacher’s husband who would not let her go to Italy alone for three months! Then, all the women piled on! 
     And, the piling on was unsportsmanlike. Words and accusations were thrown about: Was it fear that an Italian lover would sweep her away? Or fear of eating his own cooking?  Or was he simply a middle-aged slug?
     I didn't interrupt but slimed my way back upstairs.

(C) Copyright 2018, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved