Friday Firesmith – Comments and Voting

Friday firesmithIf you were to walk into a bar on a Friday night you’d get a much different audience than you would if you were in that same bar on a Wednesday night. If you sang and played guitar you’d know what sort of music your audience was looking for and you might be a little more animated on a Friday night than you would midweek.
When I first started writing here I experimented with the length of essays versus the number of comments. Five hundred words seemed to be the length that was a perfect match for the audience here. If it was much longer than that people wouldn’t read it and if it was much shorter that didn’t give me enough time to say anything.

If you look through what Jon has posted on Bits and Pieces and the number of hits those photos and videos and links get, you’ll soon realize that there aren’t many that go into double digits, as far as comments go. Some get none at all even though they’re interesting. This isn’t to say they aren’t being looked at it’s just that no one has anything to say about these things.

When Jon hired me his aim was to attract more people and to entertain those he already had. Love me or hate me, when you comment or vote, my work here is being done. If you like what I’m doing or if you truly cannot stand it, one or a five, it’s the same thing in the end. If you keep coming back then I’m doing my job.

I spent twenty-three years in South Georgia writing essays that promoted militant atheism. I’m fairly certain no on here is going to hurt my feelings with comments or votes or both. Not that I don’t care about the opinions expressed about my writings, mind you, I just don’t care about those opinions that express a predetermined idea of what I’m saying or who I am. I discovered that even when I stopped being an atheist I was still identified as one by people who will never change their minds when it’s made up.

The big thing here is to be careful not to associate those things that I write for fun or just to poke the bear with those things that I write that are important. You really cannot take anything written on politics seriously because the government is so damn broken there’s hardly any debate left except as to how to fix it. Blaming everyone is something I do pretty well but it does piss off everyone.

Rescuing dogs is something that is important. It’s real. It takes sentient creatures out of tortuous conditions and finds loving families for them to grow up and grow old with. While the comments to dog stuff are overwhelming positive the votes are from people who think either Jon or myself are going to fold up and go away because they don’t like my views on politics or religion or pickled beets.

That’s not very likely, you know.

But keep voting, please. It’s the only way I know that I’m still doing my job right here.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


77 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Comments and Voting”

  1. You’re right, Mike. Politics and Religion are inflammatory topics. However, keep up the good work. I share many of your views, and I enjoy your literary expression. I fully understand why Jon hired you.

    God Bless!

  2. Mike,
    I enjoy your articles (especially about dogs as I have 3 rescues myself).
    I like your style of writing and have shared many of your articles (from here and your own site) with others.
    As for Bitsandpieces (and NaughtyBits) I visit them every day (along with a host of other blogs).
    Seeing as you brought out the importance that just a single click can make giving Jonco the satisfaction that someone appreciates the time and effort he puts into these sites, I’ll be more apt to remember to do so in the future (maybe even a comment here and there).
    Keep up the good work (both of you).

    • John,

      I like having three dogs. I have no idea why three, except there is one more dog than I have hands. It makes me have to negotiate more with them or train them better, and it works whatever it is.

      I started coming to this site years ago. I never thought I would be part of it, but it’s been a real blast.

      Go pet your dogs and tell them that somewhere in South Georgia, someone thinks very highly of the man who rescued them.

  3. I always look forward to your Friday articles and agree with most (not all) of your opinions. Even when I don’t agree, I read and give thought to your comments. Keep writing!

  4. And??? And?!!! Just what is your opinion on pickled beets?!!! I can say that Dad and I agree that if a salad bar has pickled beets then its a salad bar to visit again. We love ’em.
    And, about the rest of the post: what paul in boca said.

    • I really and truly despise pickled beets.

      It’s one of the few food items that really gross me out and I have NO IDEA why.

      I like Paul in boca.

      Even when he disagrees with me.

  5. No comment.

    Wait… that’s a commment isn’t it? In that case, keep up the good work… and remember, when dealing with Jonco… no bright light, don’t get him wet, and never feed him after midnight, no matter how much he begs.

  6. I don’t agree with everything you say, but I respect your opinions, and your essays make me think.

  7. Mike,
    I look forward to reading your essays on Friday, it’s usually the first thing I do when I turn on my computer. I too, check out Jonco’s stuff on a daily basis. It’s always entertaining. I agree with almost everything you say, I’m a dog person for sure, and I believe in rescue. I believe puppy mills should be shut down, dog fighters should have their asses kicked, and all the money both of them have made should go to rescue organizations.
    I comment on quite a few of your things, sometimes I don’t. If I don’t it’s not because I didn’t read it, it’s because I didn’t have anything to say. Unlike some other Americans sometimes I just shut up lol.
    I usually shut up on politics, I feel like its so broken it’s beyond repair. I usually shut up on religion, I’m an Atheist, I have no religion, I know how people love to hate us.
    Please keep on keepin’ on I enjoy reading what you put out for us!!

    • Chick,

      Atheists are the last minority. No matter who else is accepted, those who do not believe will never truly have a home in America. It’s very sad, really, because most of the atheists I have ever met are onboard with the idea of America.

      I’ve noticed that you and I share more than a few ideas.

      I value your comments and opinions more than you know!

      • That means quite a lot to me Mike, it’s a mutual respect and that is hard to come by for me, especially considering where I live and who I most often meet. I admire your take on things more often than not.

        • It’s something being an atheist taught me; there is a way to disagree with someone and still have their respect. Not having a religion means not considering anything blasphemous as far as debate goes.

  8. I’m curious. Why are you no longer an atheist? I can understand about moving away from being militant about it; people who are militant about religion or politics rub most normal people the wrong way. Maturity is about realizing that there are multiple sides to every issue.

    But based on this essay, you are no longer an atheist, period. That makes me curious.

    I know many folks think that atheism = “I have proof there is no god,” but that’s not what most of us atheists believe. I wonder, did you become religious, or did you simply shed the atheist label?

    • I became an agnostic, Trog. I do realize that ALL religions might well be wrong ( I think they are) but there might be some sort of Universal Mind.

      I do still reject all mainstream religious and I always will.

      I’m still at war with some of them more than others, but I no longer waste my time trying to change those who believe.

      • I’m the same. My mom is atheist. She got me to go to some of her meetings. But I found them just as intolerable as a bible thumper. So I now refuse to go.

        I’m perfectly fine not knowing the answers to everything. I just know that all those who claim to know the answers… don’t.

        • Ron, philosophically speaking, I think it’s the only way to fly. If a person seeks surety then they will find it somewhere. If they seek doubt then they will find it everywhere.

      • Ahhh… I see you’ve come over to the dark side young padawan. I too believe there may be a higher order, though not in the classical sense of some guy who can clap his hands and the lights go on. That’s just silly, no such power exists 😉

  9. Hi Mike,
    A very good job and I look forward to reading your Friday bit. A well balanced attitude that a lot of other journolists and TV presenters should take note…
    Keep up the good work.

  10. I doubt that you’ve suffered any serious wounds Mike. Keep it going, and remember; GM is still kicking the cars out, good or bad.

  11. I rescue dogs so I always like your dog articles, I am also partial to “poking a bear with a stick” so keep doing that too.
    I love your writing whatever the subject.

    • Thanks Mick.

      I wonder how much of my audience I would lose if I didn’t rescue dogs, but then again, I would have a lot less to write about. Dogs are nature’s most perfect animals, I think.

  12. What? You get paid to write these for Jonco.
    Thus everyone comes to his website
    Then he has that “Buy Jonco a beer” section.

    So that is how one gets free beer!!

    Actually I really do enjoy your writings. You provide us things to think about, laugh about and some even bring back childhood memories.

    So thank you.

    Jonco, without your website(s) I probably would not spend this much time on the internet. So thank you as well for having the fortitude to bring Mike’s outlook on life to your readers.


    • Thanks for the kind words. As far as people buying Jonco a beer, there must be a drought going on. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good drink. (Hint Hint) 🙂

  13. Fatpuppy,

    The truth is this: I pay Jon twenty bucks a week to let me post here. I also have to pay him a buck for every comment that I get so sometimes, when I am really broke, I write poorly. That explains it quite well, I think.

    But thank you, unless you happen to be one of those people Jon pretends to be so he can make money off my writing for him!

  14. Always interested to see what you have to say on Fridays. I also liked the one time you posted one of your science fiction stories, something about 2 people meeting in different times/bodies.

  15. Sometimes, Mike, you put too many words in a row before a period and don’t have any pictures that may or may not relate to whatever it is that you’re talking about so that I think I might be starting a James Joyce sentence that won’t end for seven or eight days and I don’t want to fall in that trap again without getting a diploma in English literature or some other meaningless degree that won’t help me get a job but will be soul-satisfying because not everyone can do it. Know what I mean?

  16. I enjoy your essays, too, Mike. Rescuing dogs is far more important than being a militant atheist, Christian, Muslim, etc. I share your feelings about religion, but am not sure enough or militant enough to be an atheist. Agnostic is perfect for me, because it means not knowing. I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does, but I also look at a beautiful blue sky, or clouds drifitng along, or a magnificent tree and know that there is something greater than humankind. I don’t have a pet of my own, as I couldn’t afford vet bills, so I pet sit. My dogs are my grandchildren–I get to love them and play with them (and sometimes give them meds, etc.) walk them, sleep with them, and then send them home for their parents to deal with all the rough stuff.

    I look forward to your essays–tell Jonco he needs to keep you on the “payroll”.

  17. Mike – I do not always comment (and rarely vote on blog posts) but I do try to read your essays each week. I may not agree with what you write but I like reading what you write.

    I do agree with you about GM: they scare me, too. In fact, this year, GM (or maybe it was just Chevy) recalled more automobiles than they have made in the last 5 years.

  18. I’ve enjoyed Mike’s writing for a while so I asked him if he’d like to write a weekly piece for B&P that I could share and it might help get his writing seen by more people.

    Just a couple weeks ago I got the following email:

    just a quick note to let you know that Fridays are really starting to piss me off on your site. You really need to let go of the Friday Firesmith crap. I may be dropping you from my daily check. Don’t know if you are getting similar feedback from others about this, but, I thought I would let you know my feelings.

    This is the ONLY complaint I’ve received since Mike’s been writing here. He must like EVERY other post since he said nothing about them. I find it hard to believe that just one post out of at least a hundred posts every week is enough to make someone stop visiting this site forever. Hell, if I don’t post something that bothers you or moves you, at least once a day, I’m not doing my job well.

    I like the post that says something like… “You know that thing in your head that tells you not to say (or post) something? Well, sometimes I don’t have that thing.” On occasion I’ve posted something that I didn’t think would be a problem but it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and they let me know it. I never intentionally want to offend anyone on this site but I know someone could be offended by just about anything on any particular day depending on what goes on in their lives. I think most people understand that.

    I’m glad you all have commented so positively here today. Thank you!

    • The different sense of humor I get, but it usually bothers me when someone is offended by something I posted because of recent events in their lives. Like if I post something about a car crash and someone just lost a person close to them in an accident they might look at it much different than another person would. I know there’s no way for me to know that but it still bothers me a little. And you can’t stay away from every topic for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Oh well, life goes on…. and so will B&P for a while anyway.

  19. I’ll bet I know how to push comments well into the triple digits, using only two words: “gun control”. For some reason, those are highly inflammatory words, regardless of whether the comment is pro, or con. And it seems to get a lot of people so riled up that they are not even able to stay on topic. Or they dream up bizarre analogies to try to make their point.
    But, in response to your article: I follow your work, here, and on your own blog. For the most part, I agree with what you write. Even if I don’t I can still see your point. So, keep it up. Your stories are always interesting.

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest you do an actual gun control article. I have just seen that topic get such a higher percentage of comments than sex, or religion that it seemed relevant. Even politics seems to enrage people less.

  20. I don’t necessarily think that no one has anything to say about these things. I think sometimes someone may not find the words to say anything about these things.

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