7 posts

Join the Ministry of Propaganda

Greetings comrades. I come to you tonight to humbly ask your assistance in our effort to win The Internet. As you all know, we have experienced a pretty amazing transformation in the last few months and our humble collective has turned into the beginnings of a Dictatorship of the Internet Proletariat. No longer mere peasants; we have taken control of the means of production.

However, our battle has just begun and it is time for our armies to grow. For this to happen I need your help. As you may have noticed, we have added some new editors and moderators in the last couple of weeks in an effort to improve the quality of the site. Now that we are making that effort, we need to find a way to get the word out about the great stuff going on here. For this I need a few volunteers to be part of the Crasstalk Ministry of Propaganda.

The CMP will be charged with getting Crasstalk content out to other places on the web. This includes the social media platforms we already use, but we are also looking for some really creative ideas about getting the word out about the community here. We actually have some really interesting stuff here in our little web oasis, but we need to find ways to show it off to the rest of the world. I know that many of you are smart and innovative thinkers and we would really love to have your assistance as we continue to grow and shape the site.

If you are interested in helping out please send an email to [email protected]. If anyone has suggestions or ideas for promoting Crasstalk please put them in the comments so we can get some ideas rolling.

As always, it is an honor to serve with you.

Meet the New Crasstalk Editorial Team

Hello Crasstalk! As is pretty obvious to everyone, we have grown a lot over the last few months. This means we have more commenters and more writers than ever before. This also means that the people who work to bring you the site have had a lot on their hands. To remedy this we have recruited a little help to keep things running smoothly and to improve the articles we publish here. So please give a warm welcome to the new members of the team.

New Editors
The first change is that we have added a few new editors to help posts get through the publication process and make sure they are as good as they can be. These folks will edit your posts just like Dogs, Bots, and I have and please treat them with the same respect you show us. If they ask you to make changes or fix something, please do it. They have all been picked because we are confident in their abilities and you should be as well. The new editors are:

New Commenter Mods

You might have also noticed that two people now have blue boxes around their names. These are the new commenter mods. Please feel free to direct questions to them, and please point newcomers their way so that we can make them feel welcome. Again, please treat them with the same respect you do the other mods.

Please give big welcome and thank you to these folks for helping us all out. Their assistance will be a key factor in our winning of The Internet.



Crasstalk Reaches One Thousand Posts

Congratulations Crasstalkers, yesterday we reached the one thousand post mark. Thanks to your hard work we are now even closer to winning the Internet.

This is what victory looks like!

Also, the 13th of this month will be the 6 month anniversary of the founding of Crasstalk so I thought it would be a good time to look back on a few of the really great articles that have appeared here. Here is the first post ever posted on Crasstalk by our Beloved Leader. It actually just contained this prophetic video.

Here are a few articles that I think have been especially memorable. This list isn’t even close to exhaustive, so please feel free to add your own choices in the comments.

As I said before, there are many, many more. A huge thank you to all of you have put in your time and effort to get this place up and running. Hopefully, this will be the first of many thousands of great articles.

Image From Dogs of War's first post.


Image from The Grand Inquisitor's first post.

Tuesday Daytime Open Thread

Good day Crasstalk. Thanks for stopping by. I just want to let everyone know that if you applied for an author’s account after the workshop I will get you set up soon. There were quite a few of you so I am looking forward to some great new stuff in the coming weeks.

Also, congratulations to my dog ego who won The Crassballin’ NCAA bracket. Second place went to YoungFolk. We are all looking forward to seeing MDE model the thong that comes with the prize package.

All right, let’s get things moving. I feel like some Billy today.

Have a great day.

Sunday Writer’s Workshop and Sexy Dance Free For All

Good evening Honey Badgers and thanks for dropping by. Please start by reading this. Yes, I know most of you have read it, but just take one more look to humor me. The purpose of tonight’s workshop is for us to brainstorm and share ideas for post topics. Please post any ideas you’ve had or things you would like feedback on. To make this work it is essential that we give one and other feedback so please reply to each other. Here are a few suggestions to get people started:

  • Tech and Internet Culture (besides Gawker)
  • Music Reviews
  • Book Reviews or a Book Club
  • City Guides and Vacation Reviews

If you are new to WordPress or are having difficulty with it I highly encourage you to watch this video to help you get situated.

Oh, and here’s a few more tips:

  • When you’re done set the post status to Pending Review so we now it is ready to go.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Please check over your posts for grammar, spelling, and formatting before you put it in the pending queue. This will really help us out a lot and it will make me think you are a wonderful human being if you do it.
  • Your post needs to have an “image thumbnail” that is hosted on Crasstalk. Save the picture to your hard drive and then load it into the Crasstalk media library (it’s in the left side menu). Copy the url after it is uploaded and paste that into the thumbnail space back on your post page. People who insert their thumbnails properly are incredibly sexy. I am just putting that out there.
  • Don’t use HTML tags in the “Visual” editor. It shows up as text and makes us look like a Sarah Palin fan fiction site. Is that really what you want for Crasstalk?
  • When you embed a video you must be in the HTML mode of the editor and you must use the code under the embed button on You Tube. Pasting the url will not work.
  • Preview your post to see how it looks. Make changes and preview again. Then do it again. Make sure it looks pretty.
  • Spell check. Firefox has a built in spell checker.There is no excuse for you to leave this to us. None.
  • Make sure that you spread the word about your posts. When they are published send an email to BooBooKitteh at [email protected] and she will put you out on Twitter.

I want to say a big thank you to all of you who write for Crasstalk. We know that you all have busy lives and we appreciate the time and effort you put in to make Crasstalk fun.

We will win the Internet!

You may now begin the sexy dancing.

Late Bloomer / The Mantel

“Well, I’ve got him.  I’m just not sure what to do with him.”  Tom set his wineglass down on the patio table with a click and condensation splashed the hot glass surface, and the phone was slick in his hand.   The July sun blasted just two feet of tile along the length of the covered terrace, but it felt like an African veldt.  Loki, his fluffy Maine Coon tabby, lounged in deflated defeat in the shade of a potted clematis, opening one green eye from time to time in disapproval.

“Just have fun, boodles, you deserve it.” Thus spake Bill, ever the sage friend and wise counselor.  Too bad he was wrong 90% of the time.  Tom looked at the phone with annoyance, and the heat was only part of it.

“I am 35 years old and I have had enough fun.” he began.

As he often did, Bill interrupted.  “No, you haven’t.  You were all repressed in the ‘80s and ‘90s because you were trying to be Mr. Perfectpants for your wacky WASPy parents.  You became a serial monogamist.” This last dripped contempt, and he may as well have called Tom a serial killer.

“That’s what I want!  I’ve got all the casual stuff out of my system.  I’m not judging, I just want…”

“You want to be Samantha from Bewitched, is what you want, with your sweet New England-y house on Long Island Sound and your Wedgwood china and your well-maintained car and dinner parties and planting geraniums.  Except instead of Darrin you want a massive linebacker who talks dirty in bed and likes museums.”

Now this was truly annoying, because this was one of the 10% of times that Bill was right.

Taking a gulp of Pinot Grigio, Tom said. “Yes.  Something like that.  Is that so wrong?”

Bill chuckled.  “No, boodles.  But I think your cop with the – how did you say?  Sparkling eyes?  Anyway, he might or might not be the ticket.  Soooo… find out.  But don’t make it so damn serious.”

Pushing his very serious glasses up on his nose, Tom considered.  Slowly, he told Bill: “There’s some things that are… not right.  His clothes are dismal.  His apartment could be nice, but there’s dust bunnies in there that could eat me.  He smokes – not a lot, and he’s considerate, but still.”  Tom unbuttoned his linen shirt and fanned himself with Vanity Fair.  It helped a little.

He could almost see Bill’s eyebrow rise through the phone.  “Let’s recap that last date, k?  Quote: ‘He grabbed my hands and pinned me to the sofa and we made out like it was high school and he’s SO BIG and SO HOT and then he did that thing with his 5 o’clock shadow and my neck that drives me wild.’  Not a dust bunny to be seen.  As I recall, his shirt was off too, so you didn’t have to look at it.  Kohl’s, I bet, or some Big’nTall outlet, cast aside in the dust bunnies while you got your groove on.”

“I’m sorry I told you that.  In any case, it’s a long way from there to geraniums by the sea.”

“I want to meet him.”  Bill announced.

“No way.  You’ll scare him off.”

“He’s been shot at and had large buildings almost fall on him; he can handle me.”

“I think he’d prefer being shot at.  I know I would.”  Grabbing his wineglass, Tom slid inside to the cool air conditioning, padded to the kitchen and poured a refill.  “I can deal with this. I think.”

“Well, you should just enjoy the moment more, is all I’m saying.” Bill was back in sagacious oracle mode again, and it occurred to Tom that his description of the man in question must have piqued some curiosity.  He ducked outside again through the terrace door and parked himself in the yellow Adirondack chair he called The Throne.

A noise from the street below drew his attention, and he stood, leaning over the windowboxes bursting with begonias and mini roses.  It was a failing muffler, and it belonged to a crumbling white Jetta, which belonged to a very large man.  He got out and stretched, displaying wide shoulders straining an NYPD t-shirt which was damp in a few places, then ran a hand through his black velvety crewcut.  Sweat glinted from his brow and forearms.  He was magnificent.  Baggy shorts did little to hide tree-trunk legs and while his midsection wasn’t cut or anything, he was undeniably in great shape.

“Bill?  I think I have to go.” Tom said.

“Later, dollface.”

Shading his eyes against the sun, Tom watched as the big man opened the rear door of the Jetta and carefully pulled out a clay pot with bright pink and white flowers held above glossy green rounded leaves.  When he stood up, he seemed to feel Tom’s eyes on him and grinned.

Geraniums, Tom thought as he waved.  His name is Mike, and he brought me geraniums.


Carefully, the old man took the device from a drawer in the gleaming kitchen and headed for the living room.  The Kid had given it to him for Christmas, and it had proven most handy.  He imagined that The Kid would be all frantic at seeing him up and about with no one else in the room and there would be a lecture about broken hips and pigheadedness.  That was all right.  He had little use for sleep these days.

The french doors to the patio were open and carried the scent of roses, fresh cut grass and geraniums into the room, with a little hint of the ocean.  The warmth was soothing to the old man’s bones and he smiled crookedly as he shuffled over to the mantel.

The first picture on the left was of him and The One.  The old man found it easier to think of him that way, rather than be bothered with names that jumbled themselves up in his head.  They were in a nightclub in the photo, and his arm was looped around The One’s shoulder as colored lights played over both of them.  He turned on the gizmo, which whirred and removed any dust from the braided silver frame.  There had been a kiss that night, and it had tasted of green apples from the drinks they had.

The next picture was in a heavy antique frame that required polishing, which the old man’s arthritic fingers couldn’t manage anymore.  But the gizmo whirred again and the glass sparkled over him and The One in tuxedos on the steps of The Cathedral Of The Incarnation in Garden City.  That had been quite a day.

The third picture was in an enamel frame that said Steven’s First Christmas, and showed the old man, then younger, grinning tightly at the camera over the shoulder of The Kid, a sullen teenager.  The One was giving both of them what was called at that time the side-eye.  It was, in hindsight, a hilarious shot, and the old man grinned toothlessly as the gadget polished it up.

A sleek, modern silver frame was next.  There was The Kid in graduation robes standing next to a young lady with glossy waves of black hair and an insouciant grin.  Julia.  Her name came to him unbidden.  The Kid was grinning too, all the way to his eyes, and his cap was tilted at a jaunty angle.  After a short hum, the silver gleamed around them.

The last picture was in a frame of popsicle sticks with a scallop shell glued to each corner.  It showed the old man and The One sitting on a beach on either side of a girl of about five, all with their backs to the camera.  An unexpected wave had come in and they were each reacting with varying degrees of surprise, and the girl’s shiny black hair was tumbling out of its ponytail.

A hum removed any dust, and this completed the old man’s task.

“Whatcha doin’?” said The One, padding down the stairs.  “You really should be more careful.”

The old man smiled.  In fact, this little chore was kind of exhausting and he headed for the sofa.

“Minding my business.” he said to The One, in a tone that suggested that he do the same.  He placed The Kid’s gadget on the glass-topped end table carefully, then sat.

The One plopped down on the sofa next to him, and both men regarded the garden outside.  Slowly, the old man turned to The One.  There was more than a trace of a square, stubborn jaw and his eyes were alight with mischief and humor.

“Mike,” said Tom, more clearly than he’d spoken in months,  “Can you get me a scissor?  I want to bring some geraniums in.”

“It’s  gonna cost you a kiss.”

“I may be ninety-whatever, but I remember how to do that.”