James Explains How To Comment

Hello fellow bloggers, bots and the unlikely but still plausible person who reads this and is neither a blogger nor a bot. Today I’d like to talk about commenting on blogs. Because I’ve noticed that some people are prone to do so on this blog and, to put it bluntly, not everyone is getting it quite right.

So, at the risk of alienating some of my readers, I think it’s time we established some basic rules for commenting on my posts. Although if any of the ensuing advice does offend you then it’s probably because this blog isn’t for you. And that’s ok. Not everyone is going to be intellectually capable of accessing this material, so don’t beat yourself up. Some people have to be ‘below average’. That’s just how averages work. And as long as you can read words, there is bound to be a blog out there for you to enjoy. It’s probably just not this one.

Anyway, if you’re determined to stick around and worse still you absolutely have to write a comment, then please do consider the following advice before posting that comment:

  1. When you comment, you’re pretty much obliging me to reply. So think about that before you comment. Is it worth my time? I don’t mind replying to good comments but I do expect you to proof read it several times before you post it. Maybe get a friend to check it. If you take a few extra moments to focus on producing quality content then we’ll all reap the benefits.
  2. Despite my insistence on high quality comments, I would urge you to avoid posting comments that are better than the blog post itself. This sort of thing is happening far too often, and frankly it’s just showboating.
  3. If you’d like to give me some helpful advice on blogging, I would urge you to consider whether I really seem like the sort of person who would welcome advice on blogging.
  4. If the only reason for your comment is to shamelessly self-promote your own blog, then be my guest. It’s fundamentally the only reason I ever comment on anyone else’s blog. Ever. Nonetheless, I would urge you to focus your self-promotion efforts on enticing my other readers rather than me. If you happen to have written a post that you think I will enjoy, then inviting me to ‘check it out’ in the comments section of my blog will likely result in me clicking on the link and ‘liking’ your post just to shut you up, but I will never actually read it. Just out of spite.
  5. The best kind of comments are the ones that essentially recognise that I am the greatest writer of this, or indeed any other, era. If you’re not entirely of the view that this blog is the best blog that ever was and ever will be, then it’s questionable whether you should be commenting at all.
  6. If points 1-5 have left you with a bitter taste, then you might want to try consuming them again with a pinch of salt.

I do hope that has cleared everything up and I look forward to reading the well-written and predominantly sycophantic comments below.

Playing With Fire?

Welcome to another Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog where I have handed over my incredibly influential and important digital platform to showcase the artistic talents of my two-year-old daughter.

After last week’s mostly blue efforts, she has gone with some other colours this week. Just to highlight her range. I’m not sure what to make of it, but I found it strangely evocative of fire. But, as ever, I await the views of the true experts in the comments sections.

The Last Post: Why I’m Giving Up Blogging Forever

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Hello, I’m James and this is my blog, ‘James Proclaims’. This is my 757th post on this particular blog. I thought it was going to be my 750th but I appear to have overshot by a week. Last Wednesday’s post, entitled ‘The Insurance Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know About This Simple Life Hack Which Could Save You Thousands‘ was actually my 750th post. It was one of my much-beloved ‘click-bait’ posts in which the content has little to do with the title. It was relatively well-received but frankly it wasn’t really how I wanted to mark the occasion. I wanted to mark the occasion of my 750th post by writing a disingenuous (and somewhat inapt) title which suggested I was giving up blogging forever.

I’m not giving up blogging. I will continue to write the same sort of malarkey that I have been producing with inconsistent consistency for the last five years. Lately I have been posting on a daily basis but I doubt that is going to be sustainable forever. I might blog less often in the future. I might disappear for a few weeks. Maybe even a few months. But eventually I will always be back to trouble the blogosphere with more of my inanities.

I have a feeling I would probably do this even if no-one was reading the stuff I write. But for some bizarre reason people are reading it. And apparently liking it. Or at least ‘liking’ it. Although it’s not entirely certain that people who click the ‘like’ button have read any of the words. But the people who comment generally seem to have read some of the words. Often in the right order.

Long time visitors of my blog might have noticed that I’ve updated it a bit aesthetically. The picture of me that was previously on the blog was taken in 2013, so it was already two years old when I wrote my first post. It still looked like me then, and really it still looks like me now. Nonetheless, I thought it might be nice to update it to a picture that was taken more recently. The new picture was taken yesterday so it’s quite an accurate representation of my current face.

I’ve also updated the blog’s overall look. I was quite fond of how the blog used to look but apparently the WordPress theme I was using had been discontinued and wasn’t massively compatible with the new (and widely acclaimed…) WordPress editor. So I changed it to a new theme, and tried to make it look as much like the old theme as I could. I have also updated the page that I like to call ‘Vintage Proclamations!‘ which is meant to be a kind of ‘best of’ section. Until recently if you’d visited there you’d be forgiven for thinking that my favourite posts were the ones I wrote in my first few months of blogging, which is probably not the best look all things considered.

I’ve also added a new page called ‘The Trove Of Proclamations‘ which is an archive of all of the posts I’ve written (currently 757), because it occurred to me that it was quite difficult to find my old posts using the built-in archive that WordPress provides. I don’t really imagine that anyone visiting my blog is going to want to read all of my old posts, but it occurred to me that I might occasionally want to revisit them for nostalgic reasons. That is much easier to do now, and indeed I have spent the last few days trawling through some of my old stuff. I quite enjoyed it if I’m honest. I’d completely forgotten about some of the older posts and it was like reading something that was written by someone else. It turns out that I’m actually quite a fan of my own writing. Which might be narcissistic but a bit of narcissism ultimately bodes well for a blogger I think.

Anyway, that’s it for the 757th post. There will definitely be a 758th post because I already have some posts scheduled to be published on here later in the year. But I might write something tomorrow. In which case that post will be my 758th, because that’s how the counting of blogposts works.

An Urgent Appeal On Behalf Of The James Proclaims Foundation

At this difficult time, it is easy to forget those less fortunate than ourselves, but here at The James Proclaims Foundation, we refuse to abandon those who are in need of our support.

Over the last few months we have been working tirelessly to continue to provide essential services to people like ‘James’.

James is a 41-year-old man who desperately needs money to pay for things that many of us take for granted such as:

  • A roof over his head
  • Food for his family
  • Subscriptions to various streaming services
  • The slightly more expensive coffee in Waitrose
  • Beer. Quite a lot of beer actually.
  • Really cool trainers.

For the last couple of decades, in order to pay for these basic necessities, James has been forced to go out and earn money by having a moderately well-paid job. But, even though James is apparently ‘lucky’ insofar as he has a job which is relatively secure and unlikely to be at risk during the post-lockdown economic crisis, we, at The James Proclaims Foundation, feel that James should not have to work every day like a chump in order to have a decent cup of coffee or to get mildly inebriated when he is looking after his two-year-old daughter.

We think James deserves to live the life of one of those ‘celebrities’ who is essentially only famous for being related to someone else who is famous and who has never had to do a decent day’s work in their lives.

We know that if we could raise enough money, then someone like James could thrive as a brand ambassador for any number of companies that wanted to pay him for using their products or (to demonstrate his versatility) he would happily get intoxicated and behave badly in public in order to help generate some much-needed tabloid headlines.

But James currently does not have these opportunities and continues to work tirelessly in a job which only really remunerates him well enough to meet his mortgage payments, settle all of his bills on time and buy the nice coffee from Tesco. Which probably isn’t quite as nice as the nice coffee from Waitrose. Although maybe it is.

But you can help to change that. By donating just a small percentage of your income, you could help James to give up ‘having to go to work’ and help him to live a vacuous, meaningless existence in relative luxury.

We know you might not be able to give much, but really, every penny counts.

So please, give generously and help to make James’ dream of ‘contributing nothing of value to society’ a reality.

A Poem About How Toilet Roll Went Away (Lest We Forget)

So rare once upon a time
Now in plentiful supply
Your absence was a real crime

It never made much sense why
You vanished from all the stores
Scarcity that made us cry

And long queues outside shop doors
After panic most undue
Caused multiple bog roll wars

So it’s true that we missed you
Because many things may change
But we’ll always need the loo

A Stupid Ode To My Socks

Oh threadbare socks upon my feet
What gripping stories could you tell?
To hear them would be such a treat
I bet they intrigue and compel
You have been here, you have been there
You have walked down many a street
And you have acquired quite a smell
So I must switch to a new pair

Much A-Blue About Something

Hello and welcome to a very special Artist’s corner. As you will know if you read last week’s powerful and moving piece, I am no longer a contributor to this feature due to having been usurped by my two-year-old daughter. Although our collaborations over the last few weeks have achieved great acclaim, it has been obvious, for some time, that she is the true talent in our partnership and so I have taken the difficult decision to yield the stage to her.

Unfortunately, being a toddler, she is unable to share any real insight about her motivation for the following piece, but she can say her colours. And this one does contain a lot of blue. Although there are hints of some other colours. Which may be important.

I’ll leave it to the more erudite critics to assess the complex message behind the work in the comments section but for now just enjoy the beauty of ‘Mostly Blue’:

The Insurance Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know About This Simple Life Hack Which Could Save You Thousands

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Hello, I’m James and this is my blog ‘James Proclaims’.

You may have clicked on this post on the basis that the title suggests it contains some kind of life hack for saving money – money which you would otherwise lose to the insurance industry.

In reality this post contains nothing of the sort. I know very little about the insurance industry. I have insurance for many things, and I expect I’m probably paying too much for that insurance in some respects. I do try to shop around, and I’m ultimately fairly skeptical about the benefits of insurance, but there are some circumstances when you are, nonetheless, legally obliged to have insurance and I don’t really know enough to know for certain that I am getting an especially good deal. Nonetheless, I’d imagine I am pragmatic enough, in most cases, to have the best deal I can get without devoting significantly more of my time to the pursuit of a really good deal. Because I find life more enjoyable when I’m not researching insurance.

I did once work in the financial sector but I was very much a low level admin monkey. I did, at that time, take the exam for the Financial Planning Certificate: Level One and I did pass. But I didn’t really understand that much about Financial Planning, it’s just that Level One is (or was at the time) a multiple choice test and I did just enough practice on past papers to be able to guess my way through most of the paper. Level One, in and of itself, wasn’t really an especially impressive qualification but it was a gateway to the higher level qualifications, which may have led to a more ‘prestigious’ career within the financial sector. I finished the exam in half the time of my colleagues who were also taking the test. They, unlike me, had degrees in Economics and one of them still managed to fail. I don’t know what that says about them or the test. I’d like to say I was magnanimous when the results came out but I was young and therefore probably a bit of an idiot about the whole thing. I left that job and somehow ended up working in education. I imagine that person still works in finance and they probably earn quite a lot more money than me by now. I don’t think I’d enjoy working in finance but I’m not sure I love working in education enough to justify the lower income. I suppose I could claim some sort of moral high-ground, but frankly it would be disingenuous and in any case it doesn’t pay the bills.

However, the main problem about me claiming to offer a life-hack in this post, is less that I know very little about insurance, so much as I don’t really know what a life-hack is. It seems to be one of those terms that floats around the internet as if everyone knows what it means, but from what I can tell, it is little more than a ‘top tip’ and more often than not it seems to be the re-stating of the blindingly obvious. In which case I could probably offer a bit of a life-hack on insurance, which would be this:

Shop around a bit.

Really though, the point of this post, was just that it’s Wednesday and currently on Wednesdays I write fairly empty posts with stupid click-bait titles.

They remain some of my most popular posts.

Make of that what you will.

The Adequate Blogger Award

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Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’m super excited today because I’ve been nominated for ‘The Adequate Blogger Award’ by James over at James Proclaims.

I just want to take a moment to thank James for nominating me. He has a super awesome blog which has poetry and haiku and limericks and poems and also some really brilliant art. You should totally check out his blog now.

Although this is actually his blog, and I am James, so you are checking it out now. If indeed you are reading this.

Because, until today, there was no such thing as ‘The Adequate Blogger Award’.

But there is now. Because I just made it up. And yes it is, essentially, just one of the logos that I already had on my blog, but you’ll note I’ve changed the colour to denote that ‘The Adequate Blogger Award’ is the ‘gold standard’ of blogging awards.

I’m working on the assumption that people who read my blog are other bloggers and have some idea of what blogging awards are. Because I can’t imagine why anyone who isn’t also a blogger would ever bother with my gibberish. Sometimes my family and friends in the real world do deign to read my nonsense, but mostly, I think, because they feel sorry for me.

But if you are a non-blogger, or possibly a very new-to-blogging blogger, then you might not know what a ‘blogging award’ is, and consequently may be wondering why I appear to be mocking them. So perhaps I should explain my perception of what a blogging award is (and it is only my perception, people are always at liberty to disagree with me. People often do. They are always wrong of course, but they are free to be wrong if they so choose).

Is is not, as far as I can make out, an actual award at all. Blogging awards, as I understand them, are sort of like chain-letters. If someone nominates you for an award, it always seems to be a precondition that, in order to ‘qualify’ for the award, you have to nominate a predetermined number of other bloggers. So they sort of exist in perpetuity and although there are, apparently, an infinite number of bloggers in the world, most of us only follow, and are in turn followed by, a much smaller number (than infinity) of other bloggers. And we tend to follow bloggers and be followed by bloggers that are, in some respects, of a similar mindset to us. We’re all weird and wonderful in our own ways of course, but I very much doubt that if you’re someone who enjoys the collective works of Richard Littlejohn, Jan Moir and/or James Delingpole (who is a very different James to the one who proclaims on this blog) then you’re unlikely to find much to enjoy here. In all honesty, regardless of your political and societal views, you’re unlikely to find that much to enjoy here in any case, but if the content of my blog is likely to appeal to anyone, it will be more likely to appeal to people who think that the only appropriate use for the Daily Mail is as an emergency solution to the kind of problem which may occur should there be some kind of pandemic which results in the unnecessary stockpiling of toilet paper by idiots.

Anyway, the point is that many of the bloggers I follow also follow each other. Consequently there are only ever so many people that one could nominate for an award. So it’s not especially unusual to be nominated for the same award multiple times. There isn’t a cash prize associated with the award or anything that one could tangibly claim to be prestige. So the value of the award really depends on whether you like playing along with this kind of thing or not. I don’t tend to want to play, but equally, if a blogger who I follow does like to play along and then they don’t choose to nominate me as one of their chosen recipients, I do, of course, get incredibly offended. Because I am nothing if not a hypocrite.

Personally I think, as long as everyone accepts that some people will play and some people won’t, then they are harmless enough. I’ve heard tales of people who have been incredibly offended by a chosen nominee refusing to ‘accept’ their award, but mostly I think people are fine if you don’t want to play. And while I don’t want to play, if someone has taken the decision to ‘nominate’ me, then they have effectively posted a link to my blog on their blog, which might and occasionally does, result in a few more readers coming way. Which is nice, because while I have no shortage of bots following me, they don’t give me the kind of positive feedback that real people do (although to give the bots their due, they don’t give me the negative feedback or ‘constructive criticism’ that real people are prone to do either). So I do generally try to say thanks for a nomination on their blog, even if I rarely so much as acknowledge the existence of other bloggers on my own blog. In all honesty one of the main reasons I don’t tend to link to other bloggers is that I worry about offending all the bloggers I wouldn’t be able to acknowledge. There are just too many of them out there. Plus I’m really too caught up in my own head most of the time to ever worry about what anyone else is doing. I’m not the best at reading and commenting on other blogs at the best of times. I’d like to be more engaged but sometimes life gets in the way. I try not to hide behind my toddler in this regard (mostly because she is tiny and I am quite big so she makes for a rubbish hiding place) but being a parent of a toddler has rendered my free time rather precious and while I probably should spend more time reciprocating the attention of the lovely people who read and comment on my blog, sometimes I would just rather watch Star Wars in those rare free moments – and in a way everyone wins because there’s no way I could have dedicated a whole 31 days to blogging about nothing but Star Wars in May if I didn’t generally watch a lot of Star Wars.

So blogging awards are not real awards but they can be a nice way of building a bit of blogging camaraderie if that’s your thing and if, like me, interacting with other people is both confusing and difficult then you can opt out and just accept that if someone nominates you, it is a sort of compliment.

Apparently, if you really don’t want to play along, then the ‘done thing’ is to declare your blog to be an ‘awards free’ blog. Some bloggers have a little badge on their homepage declaring just that, while others go further and have a page with a whole spiel justifying their non-engagement with awards. I sort of get why they do this but I also live in an imaginary utopia in which people who are not bloggers do read my blog and I just wonder what sort of message I might actually be sending out by claiming my blog is ‘awards free’.

And this stance is even more confusing because there are, from what I can tell, actual awards for bloggers that do supposedly constitute some degree of ‘industry recognition’. If one can consider blogging to be an industry. Which maybe one can. It’s not an especially lucrative industry for bloggers like me, but someone who has a blog like mine and expects to make money from it is probably a little naïve. Or I’ve been missing a trick for the last five years. Both of those statements are probably true.

Anyway, the awards which are actual awards are really not for the likes of me. And the prestige of such awards is relatively questionable anyway because even those supposedly legitimate awards seem to rely on a voting mechanism, so it would seem that having lots of followers is more likely to get you an award than actually producing high quality content on a regular basis. Some people might believe that people who produce high quality content would naturally have lots of followers, but that isn’t the case in my experience. I don’t, of course, refer to my own blog, when I speak of high quality content, but I follow plenty of blogs that should, based on content alone, have lots of followers, but in reality they can only count me and a few vitamin pyramid schemes among their loyal readers. And I’m skeptical about whether the vitamin guys are really reading anything.

Still, regardless of the merits of awards, be they the weird chain-letter types, or the still possibly quite dodgy but nonetheless arguably more prestigious ‘industry’ awards, I find the notion of declaring my blog ‘awards-free’ to be sending out an unintentionally pessimistic message. I’d rather let the work speak for itself. You only have to read my blog to know, with absolute certainty, that is deserves to be ‘awards free’.

But I’ve been thinking about the chain letter style awards, and it occurred to me that they must have originated somewhere. And while I wouldn’t want to suggest for a second that all of these awards weren’t created with the notion of sowing the seeds of joy and friendship amongst the blogging community, they always do come with a set of ‘rules’ attached. And sometimes (not always but definitely sometimes) one of the the conditions of ‘accepting’ the award is to not only post a link to the blogger who nominated you, but also to post a link to the person who created the award. So presumably the creators of these awards have, through the action of creating the award, somehow established a way of getting lots of other bloggers to post a link back to their blog. Which must have resulted in an improvement in their stats. And we all know how important stats are if you’re a blogger.

So it occurred to me that if I came up with an award of my own, and if it caught on, then I too could reap the rewards of this game.

But I didn’t want to create just any award. I wanted mine to be special. So I created The Adequate Blogger Award. Because if you can achieve consistent adequacy in the world of blogging then in my view you’re definitely ahead of the pack.

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However, not all bloggers will be able to become adequate so I’ve also come up with a silver standard and a bronze standard for those bloggers who are less than adequate but who you might still want to give an award to.

And so to the rules of these awards. Because they are nothing without their rules. I didn’t want to do anything too original here, because there is little point in reinventing this particular wheel. So my rules are largely the same as all of the rules for all of the other blogging awards.

The Rules

Create a post about the award and in it do the following things:

  1. Thank James for creating this award and post a link to his wonderful blog James Proclaims
  2. You might want to thank the person who nominated you. It’s up to you. As long as you have thanked James, then that’s the main thing.
  3. Answer whatever stupid questions the person who nominated you asked you to answer.
  4. Write your own stupid questions for the people you nominate to answer (don’t overthink this bit, it’s really just a box ticking exercise)
  5. Nominate quite a lot of other bloggers to receive this award; the more the merrier really.
  6. Harass all of your nominees repeatedly until they ‘accept the award’ by writing a post on their blog which may or may not answer the stupid questions but which definitely does include a heartfelt tribute to James and a link back to his earth-shatteringly brilliant blog James Proclaims

All that remains for me to do is to nominate the first ever recipients of all of the above awards. But this is the really clever bit. As the ‘creator’ of the awards I don’t have to nominate anyone at all. All I have to do is write a redundant statement like “I nominate all of my readers to receive these awards” and then, if you’ve read this far you are legally and morally obliged to start the ball rolling.

And so, I formally give notice than anyone who has read this far is officially a nominee for whichever of the above awards they think is the most appropriate for their level of blogging ability. Don’t lie to yourself though, at least some of you will be ‘Basic Bloggers’ and it’s important that you acknowledge that if you want to experience personal growth.

Oh and if you want some arbritrary questions to answer then try the following:

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. Why?
  4. Where?
  5. When?
  6. How?

Right, let’s get to work spreading the joy and happiness that can only come with a made-up award.

The Age Of Envy

I don’t know if it’s a modern phenomenon
Or just something that has become more evident
Thanks to the prevalence of social media
But I’ve noticed that some people apparently feel the need
To claim that their accomplishments
Are more impressive than they probably are
It’s the kind of thing that one might expect
From politicians and so-called celebrities
But I think it extends to many other sectors of society
And I find it puzzling
Because, surely an embellishment of one’s achievements
Can only lead to two responses
Either people will not believe the claims to be true
And consequently create their own, less flattering, interpretations
Interpretations, which may be more damning than the actual truth
Or, alternatively, they will believe the claims of unparalleled success
In which case the most likely reaction would be resentment
And ultimately I can’t see how either response is desirable
Nonetheless, I thought it might be fun
To come up with my own, wildly over-the-top, brag
Safe in the knowledge that anyone reading this
Would know that my claims are meant ironically
However, when it came to it
I struggled to think of an appropriate pretence
Because my own achievements are so overwhelmingly impressive
From my movie-star good looks
To my singular genius
And not forgetting my humbling modesty
I realised that I truly am #blessed
And when you are as perfect as I am
It really is hard to oversell yourself

The Intent Behind This Poem Could Be Romantic Or It Could Be Laziness. I Like To Think It’s A Little Of Both

I like a hot beverage
Almost any time of day
And if it’s not made how I like it
I’ll drink it anyway

My preference is coffee
But to avoid confusion
I’ll happily drink tea
And accept a fruit infusion

Some drinks can be refreshing
And some quite stimulating
While herbal ones I find
Are often more sedating

Sometimes I like to think
That I am a connoisseur
And it’s true that there are certain brands
I claim that I prefer

But I’m really not that fussy
No that is quite untrue
And my favourite drink of all
Is the one that’s made by you

Frog

Welcome to Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog where I post quite a rubbish picture that I have drawn and pretend that it is art. Today is something of a bittersweet day because I am, sadly, going to announce my retirement from Artist’s Corner. The time has come to pass the baton on to someone else.

Regular readers and art connoisseurs will, of course, know that while this section of my blog was once entirely about my own work as a visual artist, the 2020 collection has thus far comprised of a series of collaborations between me and my 2-year-old daughter. Essentially I have provided the outline and she has provided the colour.

The reception has been somewhat mixed, with many critics lauding the talent of Little Proclaims while at the same time decrying my own. And frankly that has hurt. I have cried real tears over some of the comments in the last few weeks and I hope that those keyboard warriors who have been so cruel now feel an appropriate sense of shame.

Nonetheless it would seem selfish to stand in the way of my daughter’s burgeoning talent and so, from next week, this section of my blog will be dedicated to showcasing some of her solo efforts.

But I couldn’t depart without one last collaboration, and this, in many ways, might be our finest piece. You may remember some weeks ago that I posted Snake, which was a drawing of a snake that was going to be a frog when I started drawing it, but then I thought the head looked more like a snake, so I finished off the drawing as a snake.

Well Little Proclaims was insistent that I could not dissolve our creative partnership without fulfilling my initial promise to draw a frog. So I did try and I came up with what you see below.

Little Proclaims appears to have gone in quite a dark direction this week and I can only assume this is because she, at least, is a little sad that our collaboration is coming to an end. Although if I’m brutally honest, she still doesn’t really understand the concept of blogging and has had no idea that any of this has actually been happening.

Anyway, enough of the preamble. Let the work speak for itself. Here is our final collaboration, ‘Frog’:

10 Celebrities Who Have Serious Mental Health Problems – You Won’t Believe Number 4!

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Hello, I’m James and this is my blog, ‘James Proclaims’.

The above picture is of Henry Cavill, who is possibly best known for playing a version of Superman, but not the definitive version of Superman, because that will always be the late, great, Christopher Reeve.

As well as playing an ‘OK but not great’ version of Superman, Henry Cavill is known for being the title character in the pretty good Netflix series ‘The Witcher’ and some other stuff, some of which is good and some of which is not so good.

I chose his picture because I found it on one of those websites that lets you use their images for free, and out of those available he seemed to be the one that was recognisable enough as a celebrity without being so famous that it wouldn’t be plausible that he could have mental health problems that haven’t been the subject of much media scrutiny.

He does not, to the best of my knowledge, have mental health problems, but frankly whether he does or doesn’t is not really any of my business.

This post is not, as advertised, about ten celebrities who have mental health problems. It’s another of my, now much-celebrated, Wednesday ‘click-bait’ posts, in which I write a ‘click-bait’ title and then write a post which laments ‘click-bait’ titles.

This one is a kind of dig at the celebrity-obsessed culture we find ourselves living in these days.

I don’t know why anyone would want to know about celebrities who have mental health problems.

I don’t tend to want to know too much about celebrities at all. If someone is famous because of their work, then I might well be interested in their work, but I’m never really interested in who they are. I think knowing too much about someone famous, even someone who I hold in high esteem, will likely only ever result in disappointment.

I certainly don’t want to know about the mental health of anyone famous. Unless it’s a famous person who is using their ‘platform’ to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

But generally I find that celebrities use their ‘platforms’ to self-promote even when they are supposedly doing it for altruistic reasons.

I don’t really blame them, I imagine shameless self-promotion is the name of the game when it comes to obtaining and subsequently retaining celebrity status.

I would personally rather not add fuel to that particular fire though.

I’ll admit there is a certain amount of hypocrisy to this sentiment, because clearly, even though my blog is read by a very small (but highly intelligent and discerning) number of people, I would, on some level, like to be more well-known for my writing. But this is less because I crave fame and more because writing tends to work best as a career option if lots of people want to read it. I’m not saying I especially deserve to be well-known for my writing but, on balance, I think I would rather be paid to write than paid to do whatever it is that my current employer pays me to do.

The Tragic Tale Of Dipsy

James Proclaims (4)

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The picture above is of Dipsy. On the off-chance you’ve never come across him before, Dipsy is a Teletubby, off of the TV show ‘Teletubbies’. I say ‘he’ although I wasn’t sure before I started writing this if Teletubbies had specific genders and, if so, what specific gender Dispsy was. But I’ve checked, because the Internet will often provide this information and Dipsy is apparently male. So is Tinky Winky. Laa-Laa and Po are supposedly female.

It doesn’t especially matter what gender Dipsy is, but it is helpful to have a pronoun to use when writing about a fictional character and according to my ‘research’ the pronoun that is most appropriate for Dipsy is ‘he’.

Anyway, Dipsy is a Teletubby and my 2-year-old daughter, known on this blog as ‘Little Proclaims’, is a big fan of the Teletubbies. Not exclusively. Her favourite show is ‘Peppa Pig’ and there are a few other shows that she also enjoys.

Not that we let her watch that much TV because, as we all know, TV is evil and parents who let their children watch too much TV should be shot. And I don’t want you, dear reader, to think of me as a bad parent. So I definitely don’t let her watch much TV.

Even though it does keep her quiet sometimes.

Which can be helpful.

Also it seems to make her happy.

But who wants a happy child?

And because we make her watch some shows in French and some in English, even at the tender age of two she is showing some pretty encouraging signs that she is able to communicate in both languages.

But who wants an educated child?

No TV is evil and we actively discourage it over here at Proclaims Towers.

Although Mrs Proclaims and I both quite like watching TV and we’re both reasonably well-educated and responsible people with a range of interests and we’re both in relatively good health.

But hypocrisy is the key to good parenting and thus we rarely let Little Proclaims watch any TV at all.

But somehow the little tyke has found a way, because she seems to really like a lot of TV shows.

And ‘Teletubbies’ is one of those.

I was slightly surprised by this because, although I was already far too old to be the target audience for the show when it first came out, it still feels like it has been around for a gazillion years. But apparently it is still a thing and the little people of the world still really like it.

Dipsy, as far as I can make out, is Little Proclaims’ favourite Teletubby. I don’t know why. Having said that, if I were to pick a favourite, I too would choose Dipsy. I don’t know why that is either.

As well as TV shows, Little Proclaims does like other things. Mostly books and running around like a crazy person. I mention books because a child who likes books obviously has very good and caring parents. Not like those bad parents who let their children watch TV. Although, I would say that as flicking through books (she’s showing signs that she is relatively precocious but I’m pretty sure she can’t read yet) also seems to keep her quiet and reduces the amount of ‘running around like a crazy person’, I wonder if we are encouraging the love of literature for entirely altruistic reasons.

Little Proclaims also quite likes toys, although I would say her love for toys falls some way below her love for watching TV, pretending to read books and running around like a crazy person. But she does still play with toys sometimes. She has quite a lot of soft toys, including a stuffed Peppa Pig, that we got her for Christmas. She likes these, but they go in and out of favour and even Peppa, who we assumed would be an eternal favourite, sometimes finds herself discarded in favour of one of her other furry friends.

So when I bought her the Dipsy stuffed toy for her recent birthday, I expected her to like it, but I didn’t expect for it to become her favourite thing in the world ever.

But she appears to be completely and utterly smitten.

And this is good news. Generally one wants a gift to be well-received.

But Dipsy appears to hold a status within my daughter’s affections that no other toy has ever held. She is inconsolable if she is separated from him even for a moment.

This made bath-time, normally a favourite part of the day for Little Proclaims, into a living nightmare the other evening. Because Dipsy can’t get in the bath with her. Not just because that isn’t a good thing for stuffed toys in general, but because Dipsy is a ‘talking’ soft toy. There is some battery powered device inside Dipsy that makes him say some of his famous catchphrases from the TV show. But you can’t get it wet or it will stop working.

And while I could certainly get on board with a quieter Dipsy, I feel some of the appeal to Little Proclaims is his ability to say “eh-oh”  and “hat, hat, hat”. It’s not Shakespeare but my understanding is that not many toddlers are all that into the bard.

So Little Proclaims and Dipsy had to be separated so that Little Proclaims could have her bath. And this was difficult for her to bear.

There were many recriminations..

So, later in the evening,  when I was changing her nappy before putting her to bed, I allowed Dipsy to come to the changing mat with us. This is normally not permitted because we obviously don’t want the contents of the nappy to get on the toys. But this was just a tactical nappy change before she went down for the night, so there were no unpleasant surprises waiting therein. It was pretty straightforward. The old nappy came off and the new one went on.

Job done.

But the drama was just about to begin.

Little Proclaims, though now of course fully weaned and eating proper food, does still  drink a fair bit of milk as part of her diet. And she has a lot of this milk before she goes to bed. She’s pretty good for the most part, at regulating her own intake, so we tend to let her take the lead on how much she has.

There have been a very small number of occasions when she has consumed too much. And when she does that, there tends to be some vomit. Quite a lot of vomit.

Projectile would be an insufficient adjective to describe the eruption.

Anyway, this happened to be one of those evenings.

As I say it doesn’t happen a lot, and but when it does, it can be a nightmare to clean up.

But fortunately on this occassion she managed to avoid getting any on herself and somehow directed it all onto the changing mat. I breathed a sigh of relief. Changing mats are, by their very nature, pretty easy to clean.

Once Little Proclaims had relieved herself of her burden she was as right as rain. And with the unbridled joy that only a two-year old can muster, she enquired after her new favourite toy.

Alas, poor Dipsy.

He did not make it out unscathed.

Dipsy can’t go in the washing machine for the same reasons that he can’t go into the bath.

So, though no longer visibly covered in vomit, for it was sponged off with immediate haste, Dipsy retains a vomit-like aroma.

Frankly it is unpleasant to be in the same room as Dipsy.

But Little Proclaims continues to adore him.

And so Dipsy remains an ever-present figure in all of our lives.

I doubt we’d have this problem if I’d opted for Tinky-Winky instead.

 

 

 

A Touch Of Insincerity

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The last thing I wanted to do today was upset you
But I’ve been feeling quite stressed
Because I’ve had so much to do
A really long list of things I intended to complete
And frankly I was worried that I wouldn’t have time
So it’s come as something of a relief
That I have now hit all my targets
And I’m pleased that I even found a spare moment
To go out of my way to upset you
Because that is the last thing I wanted to do today

Please Read – This Post Contains Important Information Regarding a Forthcoming Induction Seminar For New Followers

This one

Welcome to James Proclaims – I would like to offer our sincere thanks to you for choosing to further your reading experiences here.

You are following a great blog with a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation.

At James Proclaims, leadership in poetry and satire is combined with a collaborative spirit and global connections. You will be reading a stimulating blog where people make discoveries which advance knowledge and improve society, and followers from across the world are encouraged to be independent thinkers.

Integral to our success is our international, diverse, and talented ‘follower’ community – a community which you have now strengthened. I hope you will find in this community kindred spirits who share your desire to gain new knowledge and ideas, and who will support you to develop your commenting skills and pursue blog posts that interest you. Above all, I wish you every success and hope, like me, you will find James Proclaims an inspiring blog to follow and invite you to register your interest for the forthcoming James Proclaims Induction Seminar.

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J Proclaims
Inspiration Consultant
The JP Innovative Thinking Team

 

The James Proclaims Induction Seminar

 

Who should attend?

All followers who are new, or nearly new. You will be welcomed to James Proclaims by senior followers and have the opportunity to read posts from across the blog.
There might (but almost certainly won’t) be a presentation providing an overview of the blog. The event closes with an exhibition-style section, giving you the opportunity to comment on various posts with your own questions and observations.

Key areas

  • Learn about James Proclaims’ history, the present day and its future
  • Meet both new and existing writers from the blog, although they are one and the same person – just humour him.
  • Find out about the lack of services and benefits available to our followers
Please note that attendance at the James Proclaims Induction Seminar is compulsory for all new followers. ‘Not knowing when it is taking place just because we didn’t tell you’ is not an excuse for non-compliance and anyone failing to comply will be given a stern talking to and, quite possibly, a disapproving look. Continued non-compliance may result in tutting in some cases.

 

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An Ode To Wasting Time

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There are many hours I spend
Watching boxsets on my screen
Though I don’t know to what end
Because I can’t say that I’m keen
The mis-en-scene is flawed
And the acting is quite weak
Yet I still sit and stare
Completely under-awed
Though one positive critique
Is the comfort of my chair

The Birds

Welcome back to another ‘Artist’s Corner’, the bit of my blog where I publish some crudely drawn cartoons and pretend that they are art. Recently I’ve been collaborating with my now 2-year-old daughter (it was her birthday on Monday). The results have been akin to what you might get if a man with no discernible drawing skills drew some pictures and got his toddler daughter to colour them in.

But it’s all been a bit of fun. Some of my regular readers have enjoyed posting pretentious critiques of the oeuvres in the comments section. And I hope that they will do so again today.

On to the work itself and we have two pieces to show you today, although they are very much part of a set. Collectively they are known as ‘The Birds’.

Enjoy.

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10 Unbelievable Epic Fails Caught On Camera

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello, I’m James and this is my blog, ‘James Proclaims’.

Recently I started writing posts with ‘click-bait’ titles. It was sort of an experiment to see if it got more people to visit my blog, but also a bit of fun that I thought that people who already visited my blog would find amusing.

Insofar as attracting new visitors went, it did work a bit, but some other posts, the ones with actual content, seemed to be doing just as well. So as a strategy for attracting new visitors I wouldn’t necessarily recommend writing ‘click bait’ titles as your main marketing strategy.

But the titles appear to have amused some of my regular readers  and I like to amuse my regular readers. They are lovely people who deserve to be happy and if I can contribute to that in some small way, then I’m more than willing to write disingenuous blog post titles.

If you did come here to see pictures of ‘Epic Fails’ then I apologise that you haven’t found that here.

Although maybe you consider this blog to be an ‘Epic Fail’. You’re entitled to your opinion.

I don’t really know what an ‘Epic Fail’ is. Whenever anyone shows me pictures or videos of so-called ‘Epic Fails’ they just seem to be unfortunate incidents that happened to other people. There’s rarely anything ‘epic’ about them, and mostly I’d say they were not wholly indicative of success or failure either.

But that’s just my opinion. Which I am also entitled to.

 

James Predicts The Future

James Proclaims (4)

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It’s not like me to use misleading titles for my posts.

Apart from when it is.

And I fear I may have done just that today. Because this post is not going to be me attempting to predict the future in a humorous way, which is probably what the title implies.

Nor will it be an attempt to make any serious and thought-provoking predications based on the evidence of current world developments because this isn’t that kind of blog and I’m woefully underqualified to do that.

Being woefully underqualified is not always a barrier to me attempting to do things. It is essentially a trick I’ve been playing on my employer for many years.

Nonetheless, this post is an homage to a different post I wrote.

Because what is more compelling than a blogger blogging about other stuff he blogged about?

That question was rhetorical. I don’t need you to answer it in the comments. Unless you can answer it in a way that is funny. Then go for it. Often the best bit about my blog is the funny stuff that other people write in the comments section.

Anyway, the post that I’m referring to is the one I wrote on the first day of the year, which I cleverly entitled ‘So You Say You Want A Resolution‘. You should probably go and read that now.

Are you back? Or did you just not bother to go? I’m not the boss of you, you don’t have to go and read it if you don’t want to. It might help you to understand what I’m going on about in this post. Then again it might not. In summary, it was my tongue-in-cheek predictions for the New Year, but honestly it’s uncanny how accurately I predicted the horrors of 2020. Because how could I possibly have known about coronavirus back in January?

Ok, I know it was a thing even then, and some people were predicting it would become a pandemic, but I just assumed that being, you know, British, we were immune to such things. I thought it was written into our constitution. I know we don’t actually have a UK constitution, but it’s surely still implicit that Britain doesn’t take part in pandemics. I blame the EU. It’s just a shame that Brexit didn’t come sooner really…

Anyway, I didn’t predict an actual pandemic as such. But I did write the following:

“I mean it’s obviously only just begun, but I have a feeling that 2020 will be a year like no other.

Call it 2020 foresight if you will, but I predict that the year to come will be one that changes everything.

But obviously not in a good way.”

So, you know, I was pretty spot on if the popular media is to be believed.

Anyway my solution to the end of the world was going to be to get into shape “so that when Judgement Day arrives, I can be the grizzled, cynical, but ultimately kind-hearted hero that the world needs me to be.”

Now while that was obviously me just having a bit of (as it turns out quite misguided) fun, it was also a roundabout way of saying my New Year’s resolution was, as it is most years, to get a bit fitter. Not that I’m entirely a stranger to keeping fit, but I’ve always been a bit inconsistent with how committed I am to the cause. And I’m certainly no stranger to a pie. Or chips (you can interpret that as either the UK meaning for chips or the US version – I like both kinds). Or ice-cream. Or beer. Or pretty much anything that’s fundamentally bad for you.

So I could definitely have done with being a bit more committed.

Which, to be fair to me, I was for January and February. I went to the gym quite a lot in January while I was waiting for an ear infection to heal sufficiently to return to my swimming routine. And, in February I returned to the pool and as has been documented occasionally on this blog, I started running a bit.

Then the pandemic hit and the swimming pools closed. So I was only able to do the running, which I did stick to, but, as has also been documented, I’m not really very good at running.

Recently the pools re-opened, so I’ve been able to avail myself of mine for the last two weeks. And it has been going swimmingly. I’m still running, I’m still quite bad at running, but, because I’m swimming again, I don’t have to go running as often, which seems to have resulted in me being less bad at running on the days I do it.

So it would seem that I am ticking along nicely, if unspectacularly, in my quest to be a bit fitter

Except that…

…this is a bit awkward really but…erm…

…I maybe haven’t been as honest as I could have been on these pages…

Generally it’s in my nature to be a little self-deprecating. I’m not one for bragging.

And I really am bad at running.

But I haven’t just been running for the last few months.

I have actually been doing some other exercise. Stuff like press-ups and burpees and some quite horrible things involving a kettlebell.

And even though I did carry on working, I did have slightly more freedom with regards my working hours so I generally found time most days to fit in a workout.

And I appear to have accidently become genuinely quite fit. Honestly, no-one is more surprised than me that this has happened. I mean I still have a diet akin to that of an unsupervised toddler in a sweet shop but nonetheless, I do appear to be burning some of those excess calories.

And if the world does need a post apocalyptic hero in the near future, I’m definitely more qualified than I was in January.

I mean, it’s probably still better if we don’t have an apocalypse but I’m just saying, if I’m needed to save the world, I’d be happy to give it a go.

 

 

Wanted – Talented Writers Who Have No Personal Ambition And Are Happy To Give Away Content For No Remuneration Or Credit

James Proclaims (4)

A exciting opportunity has arisen for a creative, results focused and ambitious Content Writer who can take direction from written or spoken ideas and convert them seamlessly into quality content that is better than the stuff we’re currently churning out.

James Proclaims Ltd

James Proclaims is a multiple award-nominated blog based in the UK somewhere. The blog is quite possibly read and enjoyed by tens of people around the world, although this is based on some potentially misleading statistics. Nonetheless those stats point to a recent upward curve and so the time has come to consolidate that success by ‘employing’ someone who can actually, you know, write.

Content Writer

You will join us as a Content Creator and will draft all content for blog posts, ensuring it is of the highest standard, engaging, and will definitely get a lot of ‘likes’. You will be a valuable team resource in terms of industry knowledge, keeping abreast of trends and passing that knowledge on to the wider team. The wider team is, essentially, just one person, although that person does sometimes use the first-person plural to create the illusion that there is, in fact, a team.

Content Writer Responsibilities:

– Responsible for drafting all content and effectively marketing the content so as to generate lots of ‘likes’.
– Respond to comments on posts in a timely and, where possible, witty fashion.
– Research competitors to stay informed of what is popular on other blogs and, where appropriate, steal ideas and content.
– Make coffee for ‘the team’.
– Sometimes go to the pub with ‘the team’ and pretend to be his friend.

Content Writer Requirements:

Essential Desirable 
– Willing to work for no remuneration or credit – Proven experience of writing for web, email and social media
– Ability to write good, clear copy in a variety of styles and tones of voice with impeccable spelling and grammar
– Excellent proof-reading skills
– High level of accuracy and attention to detail


WE ARE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES EMPLOYER AND WELCOME APPLICATIONS FROM PEOPLE FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS, GENDERS, ABILITIES AND ETHNICITIES.

Expressions of interest should initially be in the form of a message in a bottle. This is not a real job advert but all applications will nonetheless be considered before they are rejected.

This one

James Blogs About His Own Blog

James Proclaims (4)

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Though unintentionally, I appear to have started the previous two months with a kind of ‘blog update’. I suppose it’s an inevitable consequence of posting something everyday that occasionally my muse will lead me to ponder my own blog and indeed the concept of blogging as a whole.

And frankly I’m not alone in this.  You rarely have to delve too deeply into the blogosphere to find someone ruminating about their blog, giving advice about blogging or lamenting the state of their blog and/or blogging in general. It is, I suspect, the nature of the beast.

And so, as we begin August, in this strangest of years, I thought I might again write a little more about blogging. I have, after all, been at this for a while. This is officially my 732nd post on ‘James Proclaims’ in the 5 years, 2 months and 22 days since a younger and greener me took his first tentative steps into the world of WordPress, so now seems as good a time as any to share my wisdom and experience on all things bloggy. Well maybe not as good a time as any. Perhaps I’d have been better doing this on the fifth anniversary of ‘James Proclaims’. But that day I was busy writing about the 1978 ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’. I stand by that decision.

Perhaps I’d be better hanging on for my upcoming 750th post. That seems like a seminal blogging landmark. But I might have something better to write about that day. Although if I maintain my current daily blogging schedule then it would fall on a Wednesday, which currently, and rather arbitrarily, serves as the day on which I post my satirical ‘clickbait‘ posts. And they do really lend themselves to blogging about blogging. Because they aren’t really about anything else.

But I’m feeling somewhat introspective today and the beginning of the month makes sense by my (usually flawed) reasoning. Not least because it permits me to look back on the previous month’s ‘stats’, be that in elation or despair. And on that score, things are currently looking up. I began July 2020 by celebrating June 2020 as my most successful month ever, in terms of the stats that WordPress deems relevant. And this was significant because June 2020 was my most successful month since August 2015. But July 2020 has actually been even more successful, across the board. Not only that, but a mere seven months into 2020 and I’m already enjoying what is now officially my most successful year in blogging. This mostly speaks to what an appalling job I’d been doing in previous years. Admittedly the second half of 2018 and most of 2019 don’t really count because I was, effectively, on a kind of ‘blogging paternity leave’ for most of that time. I did pop up occasionally with the odd post here and there but from May 2018 until March 2020 I really produced very little content. Apart from my much ignored annual Christmas Advent Calendar of Films, which I doggedly stuck to, even though no-one ever reads those posts.

2017 was my previous ‘best year’ and even then I was pretty inconsistent with how often I posted, but I did spend more of the year blogging than I spent not-blogging. 2016 was a very poor year, because, while I did produce a reasonable amount of content, for some reason my posts weren’t appearing in the ‘WordPress reader’ which meant that any bloggers who chose to follow me were not being made aware of the fact that I had written anything. And most of my readers are other bloggers. That too is the nature of the beast I suspect. Because at the time I didn’t ‘follow’ my own blog I had no idea of the problem. I just assumed that people who had previously been quite regular visitors had just decided they didn’t like my blog any more.

I may have self-esteem issues.

Of course I have self-esteem issues. That’s why I have a blog.

Once resolved, my stats improved dramatically, and I now do ‘follow’ myself in order to be certain that my content is available to people who might like to read it. Or at least so they can click the ‘like’ button and give me a misplaced sense of self-worth.

Anyway, 2020 is now statistically my best blogging year. And this matters because I can now choose to not blog again until 2021. In many respects this would be the smart thing to do. If I keep going, then the eventual blogging slump when it comes (and it will come) might hit me hard in 2021 and mean that I can’t top this year’s stats. Whereas a blogging slump now would leave my stats fairly sedentary for the rest of the year and a reinvigorated blogging schedule next year could then theoretically help me to continue to ‘build on my success’. There’s no point in setting the bar too high.

However, you will be relieved to know (yes relieved is the correct word) that I am not planning on having an immediate blogging slump. Not least because my blogging schedule is really not well-planned enough to actively plan a slump. Beyond a notional ‘need to post every day’ at the moment, I have no particular idea of what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Last time I had a blogging streak of this magnitude it was far more planned.

I had a proper blogging schedule.

And I had much worse stats.

These days though it’s just whatever I can think of, whenever I can think of it. Which seems to result in a lot of haiku. And some of those haiku have been about how I always write haiku.

I didn’t even really know what a haiku was when I started blogging. Now it’s my ‘go to’ strategy for producing content when I can’t think of anything else to write.

But endless underwhelming haiku do appear to be the foundation of my current blogging ‘success’.

Success, is of course, a relative term. For this blog to truly be successful I would actually need to have some sort of aspiration for it.

But all I really wanted was for some people who weren’t me to read my stuff and not hate it.

And on that score this blog has been a runaway success story since the day I realised that you need to ‘tag’ your posts in order for other people to be able to find them.

Which I admittedly did not know for the first few weeks that this blog existed.

So if I was to impart one piece of advice to any newbie bloggers out there, it would be to tag your posts. It doesn’t matter what tags you use. Etiquette would suggest that the tag should be pertinent to the content.

But honestly, the bots don’t really care one way or another.

 

Mouse

Welcome back to Artist’s Corner, the bit of my blog in which I peddle the same material week after week in the hope that no-one really notices. The conceit is quite simple. I draw a picture, my very-nearly-two-year-old daughter adds a touch of colour and then I post it on here and pretend it’s art.

I’d probably have stopped doing this weeks ago but the comments section has continued to amuse me, as a number of people seem to delight in posting ludicrously intellectual reviews of the ‘art’.

Hopefully they’ll do that this week too, or I could end up looking a bit silly.

Anyway, without further ado, allow me to present this weeks oeuvre. It is simply called ‘Mouse’.

mouse

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