Tag Archives: Blog News

Please Stop Writing So Much About the Dumb Asses

Of late, my focus has been on my critics,the hate mail I have received, and the predatory behavior of certain Christian pastors and church leaders. While I think it is important to talk about things like this, I can find myself consumed by these things and I stop being a help to others. Most people, as one reader told me, know the dumb ass things these dumb asses do. There is no need to focus on them or spend an inordinate amount of time detailing their dumbassery.

I think this reader is right. I have nothing to offer the hardcore Christian zealot, and it is a waste of my time trying to play theologial tennis with them. A game every so often is fun, but playing every day is exhausting and not the best use of my time.

I am going to gone for parts of the next three days (dirt track race, baseball game) so my writing volume will be light. Come Monday, Zeus willing, I will try to focus on answering the questions readers have asked me. If you have any other questions, please send them to me via the contact page.

As always, thank you for reading.

Bruce

 

Published: July 18, 2014 | Comments: 8

June Blog News

blog news

It’s the time of month when I share what is new on The Way Forward and I remind readers of the various ways they can access this blog, contact me, or make a donation.

Health News

Last week, I had another brain MRI and an EEG. (third brain MRI since 2007) The doctor called me today and told me the MRI did not show any sign of stroke. It did show that there was a problem in one part of the brain. He told me this could be that I am just getting older, but if the memory problems continue this could a sign of early onset dementia. (he is not inclined to think so at this time) The memory problems I have could be related to Fibromyalgia, so don’t anyone start reporting that I have dementia.

The EEG results will not be back until next week.

Things remain difficult for me, but I am determined to write until I can write no more. Due to fatigue and memory/comprehension loss, I think I have reached the point where I can no longer read books. Stay tuned, I may be having a big book sale in the near future. I hate to give in, but I am unable to meaningfully read a book with the comprehension I am used to. I continue to read a plethora of magazines and I am sure I will read a book here and there. This is a tough decision for me to come to since books have been such a big part of my life. (and I am sure some Christian fundamentalist will let me know that this is God taking away what I love to get my attention)

Guest Posts

I am always looking for people to write a guest post. Do you have something you would like to write about? Please let me know and I will gladly publish your guest post on The Way Forward.

You don’t have to be an atheist to write a guest post. Maybe you disagree with me on something and you want to set me straight. Write away… I am especially interested in publishing your deconversion story. If you need to, you can write anonymously.

Please use the contact form to send me your guest post.

Found Lost Cache of Old Blog Posts

I recently stumbled upon a small cache of old blog posts from before the 2013 server hack. While I do not have access to the hundreds of posts I lost, I do have access to a few dozen of them and I am in the process of going through them. I am correcting grammar and spelling errors and rewriting paragraphs that I think could be better stated before I post them live on The Way Forward. I have found it interesting that some of these posts are getting far more attention than when I first posted them 2-4 years ago. I suspect some of this is due to the fact that a lot more people read this blog than they did 4 years ago.

Continued Increase in Comment Spam

By the end of June, it is likely that Akismet will have caught and I have manually deleted over 50,000 spam comments. Yes, that’s right….50,000. As you can see from this chart,

askimet

Akismet is catching the vast majority of the spam and automatically deleting them. I am having to manually delete about 150-250 comments a day from the spam folder. I am also having to watch for and delete spam left by real people. These comments are the most time-consuming because I have to read each of them. They often sound like real comments. Fortunately, this spam onslaught has turned me into an expert on how to spot a spam comment.

Spelling Errors

Recently, someone contacted me quite apologetically about a spelling error I made on a page.  I let the person know that I didn’t consider them pointing out my error offensive. I am a very good speller but I am not a very good typist. So, spelling mistakes happen. I proof read each post 3 times, yet I still end up with spelling errors. So, if you see a spelling error, please let me know. I will NOT be offended if you point it out to me.

As far as my grammar and style…I spent most of my adult life as a public speaker. My writing tends to reflect this. I continue to work very hard at improving my grammar skills and style. I don’t want to become so perfect that I lose my voice. But, if you see something that is really difficult to read or sounds incoherent, please let me know.

RSS Feeds

RSS Feed for Posts

RSS Feed for Comments

Receive a Daily Digest of Every New Post via Email

Email Subscription

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Tumblr

Donations

Each month, a handful of people make a donation to the Bruce Gerencser Relief Fund. I appreciate each donation, regardless of the size. I view the donations as an act of kindness to me by my friends.

When I started blogging six years ago, I decided I did not want to have advertising on my blog. I don’t blog to make money. I blog because I need to write. Donations are always appreciated, but they will never determine whether I blog. In other words, you can’t buy me! :)

The donation form is on the sidebar if you would like to make a donation.

As always, thank you for reading The Way Forward. Your kindness and support mean a lot to me, and I know my life is richer because of it.

Bruce Gerencser

Published: June 25, 2014 | Comments: 5

Blog News

all in your head
comic by Chris Hallbeck

Tomorrow, June 11th, Polly and I will be traveling to Cincinnati to attend a baseball game. We will be gone most of the day, so first time comment approval and comment response will be delayed. Hopefully, the rain will have passed through Cincinnati by game time.

On Tuesday June 17th, I am scheduled to have another brain MRI and an EEG. This will be my third brain MRI. (2007, 2010) My primary care doctor wants to see what has changed since 2010 wants to see if there is any indication of some sort of aphasia. (in addition to the other health problems I already have)

I appreciate your support.

Bruce

Published: June 10, 2014 | Comments: 9

May Blog News

blog news

It’s the time of month when I share what is new on The Way Forward and I remind readers of the various ways they can access this blog, contact me, or make a donation.

Health News

Four simple words this month, really really not good. In addition to the “normal” health problems I have, I am quite congested and having difficulty breathing. I will wait to see if this passes. I have an appointment in two weeks with my primary care doctor and I am scheduled to see a new dermatologist this Friday. Due to having skin cancer, I must keep a close watch out for any abnormal skin growths. My previous dermatologist told me, due to my history of numerous blistering sunburns, that it is likely that I will get cancer again. I am proactive, which is all I can do at this point. I am paying for the sins of my youth.

Found Lost Cache of Old Blog Posts

I recently stumbled upon a small cache of old blog posts from before the 2013 server hack. While I do not have access to the hundreds of posts I lost, I do have access to a few dozen of them and I am in the process of going through them. I am correcting grammar and spelling errors and rewriting paragraphs that I think could be better stated before I post them live on The Way Forward. I have found it interesting that some of these posts are getting far more attention than when I first posted them 2-4 years ago. I suspect some of this is due to the fact that a lot more people read this blog than they did 4 years ago.

Blog Theme

Over the past six weeks I have been using the Time Turner premium WordPress theme on The Way Forward. I am quite happy with the theme. If you see anything that could be improved, please let me know.

Popular Posts Plugin

A week ago, I added the WordPress Popular Posts plugin. This plugin generates a list of the most viewed posts. There is a widget on the sidebar that displays the list. Currently, I have the plugin  set to use the page views for the past 30 days to determine which posts should be on the list. Since I have only been using the plugin for a week, the list will continue to change as it gets more page view data. The plugin does not count views of the front page. Since I do not use post excerpts (I HATE them) , a person coming to the front (home ) page can read 1 to 8 posts and it only count as 1 page view. I prefer visitors being able to read my writing in its entirety rather than forcing them to click a link to get the full post.

Here’s the Popular Posts list for the last 7 days:

popular posts

Continued Increase in Comment Spam

By the end of May, it is likely that Akismet will have caught and I have manually deleted 50,000 spam comments. Yes, that’s right….50,000. As you can see from this chart,

askimet spam graph

the spam has dramatically increased in April and May. I just got off the phone with my service provider, Flywheel, and they told that these numbers are quite abnormal. As far as they can tell there is nothing amiss with my site. The spam is mostly bot generated and there is not much they can do about it. They told me they would take a look at it and see if there is anything else I/they can do.

Akismet is catching the vast majority of the spam and automatically deleting them. I am having to manually delete about 150-250 comments a day from the spam folder. I am also having to watch for and delete spam left by real people. These comments are the most time-consuming because I have to read each of them. They often sound like real comments. Fortunately, this spam onslaught has turned me into an expert on how to spot a spam comment.

Spelling Errors

Recently, someone contacted me quite apologetically about a spelling error I made on a page.  I let the person know that I didn’t consider them pointing out my error offensive. I am a very good speller but I am not a very good typist. So, spelling mistakes happen. I proof read each post 3 times, yet I still end up with spelling errors. So, if you see a spelling error, please let me know. I will NOT be offended if you point it out to me.

As far as my grammar and style…I spent most of my adult life as a public speaker. My writing tends to reflect this. I continue to work very hard at improving my grammar skills and style. I don’t want to become so perfect that I lose my voice. But, if you see something that is really difficult to read or sounds incoherent, please let me know.

RSS Feeds

RSS Feed for Posts

RSS Feed for Comments

Receive a Daily Digest of Every New Post via Email

Email Subscription

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Tumblr

Guest Posts

I am always looking for people to write a guest post. Do you have something you would like to write about? Please let me know and I will gladly publish your guest post on The Way Forward.

You don’t have to be an atheist to write a guest post. Maybe you disagree with me on something and you want to set me straight. Write away… I am especially interested in publishing your deconversion story. If you need to, you can write anonymously.

Please use the contact form to send me your guest post.

Donations

Each month, a handful of people make a donation to the Bruce Gerencser Relief Fund. I appreciate each donation, regardless of the size. I view the donations as an act of kindness to me by my friends.

When I started blogging six years ago, I decided I did not want to have advertising on my blog. I don’t blog to make money. I blog because I need to write. Donations are always appreciated, but they will never determine whether I blog. In other words, you can’t buy me! :)

The donation form is on the sidebar if you would like to make a donation.

As always, thank you for reading The Way Forward. Your kindness and support mean a lot to me, and I know my life is richer because of it.

Bruce Gerencser

Published: May 27, 2014 | Comments: 3

Getting Hammered by Spam

spam 2014

As I mentioned a week ago, I have had to deal with a huge uptick in spam. I thought, based on the numbers a week ago, that I would end up with about 16,000 spam comments for the month of April. The actual total is 23,360. Already today, there have been over 1,500 spam comments. I am think that this is a concerted effort by someone or a few someones to overwhelm me with spam, hoping I will approve one or more of them so they can flood the live comments with spam. In March, there were 1,283 spam comments and only 68 spam comments in February. I received more spam comments in the last half hour than the entire month of February.

Today,  they have turned to a different spamming method. Most of the spam comment are associated with Facebook accounts and read like normal comments. If it wasn’t for the fact that there were hundreds of them, I likely would have approved some of these. Once approved, they can make a huge mess, especially if I am not paying attention to the site for a few hours. I am also seeing live comments, comments left not by a bot but by a live human being typing a spam comment in the comment form. They are going to an awful lot of work for nothing.

As I mentioned before, due to this onslaught, it is impossible for me to read the spam comments and look for the occasional non-spam comment. If your comment accidentally ends up in the spam folder, I will not see it and it will be deleted. If, for some reason, you post a comment and it does not appear right away, please let me know immediately. If I know, I can retrieve it from the spam folder. (this only applies if you have left a  comment previously. All first time comments are moderated, as are comments with links in them)

Published: May 1, 2014 | Comments: 5

Knowing When to Quit

knowing when to quit

I was taught, as a young Baptist preacher, to NEVER quit. While I was in college, we frequently sang a song that had this line: souls for Jesus is our battle cry, we never will give in while souls are lost in sin, souls for Jesus is our battle cry. Countless chapel speakers encouraged young men like me to go to a city, start a church, and stay a lifetime. To this day, this never quit thinking permeates my thought process. Sometimes, it shows itself in silly ways…if I start reading a book I have to finish it.

Thanks to the chronic health problems I have, I have a growing list of things started but not finished. Maybe some day, I tell myself, I will get ______________ finished. It is not a matter of desire as much as it is a lack of physical ability. I often wonder if I am better off not starting something if I know I will not be able to immediately finish it. As the list of uncompleted projects grows I find myself increasingly frustrated. I have never liked unfinished business or lists with things still to do at the end of the day. When I was able I worked long hours to make sure my to do list was cleared each and every day.  These days, the list grows and grows and I know that there will never be a day when I will be able to say…done!

This blog has been an important part of my life for the past six years. I have quit, started, quit, started a handful of times and I suspect some of my long time internet friends have a pooling going to pick the date when I will again quit. Several friends have suggested to me that I do not have the mental and emotional wherewithal to be a blogger. While there was a time when I found their judgment offensive, perhaps they are right.

I am incapable of doing things half way. It is not in me to half ass do anything. What hinders and frustrates me is that pain and illness limit the amount of time I have each day to devote to writing, answering comments, engaging readers on social media, answering emails, and maintaining the blog. Most weeks, I spend 20-35 hours a week on writing and dealing with the things that come from having a growing reader base.  The physical limitations I have make keeping up difficult and often impossible.

As I was thinking about these things tonight, two words popped into my head: value and difference. Do people find value in my writing? If so, how do I determine this?  Is value determined by page views and visitor numbers? Yes, the reader numbers continue to grow, yet the comment numbers remain the same. The same small cadre of people comment week in and week out, a fact that I appreciate very much.  10,000 people from Reddit, Stumble Upon, or Facebook can read a particular post, yet none of them leave a comment. Do these people find value in what I write? If they do, why don’t they say so? If they don’t, why do they continue to read?

Difference. Every writer wants to be heard. They want their words to make a difference. Is my writing just me preaching to the choir or is it making a difference? Is it challenging the views of others?  Has blogging just become, for me anyway, a perverse form of group therapy?  Perhaps that alone makes a difference for some people. I know, on some days, it does for me. Sometimes just knowing that others hear and understand are just what I need to get through the day.

So I struggle. One of my dear friends is closing her blog and this has got me thinking about my own writing and this blog. Does every blog have an expiration date? Does a writer only have so much to say before they are just repeating themselves? I find myself tired of certain subjects, looking at you atheism, yet  I know that a lot of people read this blog because of my atheistic views. Does this blog cease to be when I no longer want to write on atheism? Or fundamentalism?

I continue to think, ponder, and consider what I want to do with the brief life I have left. I have no answers and every day the lay of the landscape looks different. Some days, I am a fire-breathing dragon, other days I wonder why I bother. This is the emotional roller coaster I have been on for a long time. I know some long time readers are reading this and thinking…oh boy, here we go a-g-a-i-n.  Would it help if I said…really it is not? Probably not, since you have heard me say that before.

I am not going anywhere…maybe tomorrow, or Friday, or July 3rd, will be a better day. For now, my mind continues to churn as I think about value and difference.

Now, I am headed for bed. Well, headed for the bedroom anyway. Sleep is a long, long way off.

As always, thank you for reading.

Published: April 29, 2014 | Comments: 34

April Blog News

blog news

It’s the time of month when I share what is new on The Way Forward and I remind readers of the various ways they can access this blog, contact me, or make a donation.

Health News

Two simple words this month, not good.

RSS Feeds

RSS Feed for Posts

RSS Feed for Comments

Email Subscription


Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Tumblr

Guest Posts

I am always looking for people to write a guest post. Do you have something you would like to write about? Please let me know and I will gladly publish your guest post on The Way Forward.

You don’t have to be an atheist to write a guest post. Maybe you disagree with me on something and you want to set me straight. Write away… I am especially interested in publishing your deconversion story. If you need to, you can write anonymously.

Please use the contact form to send me your guest post.

Donations

Each month, a handful of people make a donation to the Bruce Gerencser Relief Fund. I appreciate each donation, regardless of the size. I view the donations as an act of kindness to me by my friends.

When I started blogging six years ago, I decided I did not want to have advertising on my blog. I don’t blog to make money. I blog because I need to write. Donations are always appreciated, but they will never determine whether I blog. In other words, you can’t buy me! :)

The donation form is on the sidebar if you would like to make a donation.

As always, thank you for reading The Way Forward. Your kindness and support mean a lot to me, and I know my life is richer because of it.

Until next month…

Bruce

Published: April 22, 2014 | Comments: 0

Email Subscriptions

mailchimp

A small number of people, 96 to be exact, read The Way Forward via email. The email subscription function has been a pain in the ass for me, but I am doing my best to make the email you receive is functional and easy to read. Originally, I used Feedburner to handle email subscriptions and then I used WordPress’s Jetpack plugin. Both proved to be quite unreliable and lacked the ability to customize the email or add/remove subscribers.

A few weeks ago, I started using to MailChimp to handle email subscriptions. As far as delivery and managing subscribers is concerned, MailChimp is working great. However, I am having some template design problems that are proving to be quite frustrating. For those of you that read the email with Gmail in a browser or with the iOS client, you might have noticed that many of the pictures were scrunched. It took me a week to finally figure out that there was a value in the code that was setting the maximum width to 300px. This means that when I posted a 600px by 400px picture, it was scrunched to 300px by 400px. Unfortunately, it took a week of email back and forth to MailChimp support to figure this out. I think they thought I knew what I was doing…

I have a working knowledge of CSS and HTML. I am self-taught, so there are some gaps in my knowledge base. I am doing what I can to become more proficient. I think I finally have a basic, no frills MailChimp email subscription template designed so that it will no longer scrunch the pictures. If you are an email subscriber, I would appreciate your feedback about the new design. (starting with the Tuesday, April 22nd mailing)  Please email me via the contact form.

If you would like to subscribe:

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


After subscribing you will receive a confirmation email. Once you click the confirmation link, you are good to go.

Thanks!

Bruce

Published: April 21, 2014 | Comments: 2