Boost Your Blog Traffic with Hyper-Drive


Sorry to disappoint you folks, but there isn't any software out there called "Hyper-Drive" to boost your web traffic, but there is something close: it's called EntreCard. If you blog, EntreCard is a must. It's a small little inconspicuous widget that will bring new traffic to your site and spur a traffic explosion. Through EntreCard, you visit other blogs, earn virtual credits, and you use those credits to advertise your logo, your brand, your blog on other EntreCard user's blogs. With just a little effort on your part, over time, you will see your blog traffic explode.

I've been advertising on EntreCard for some time and have been very satisfied with the results. But recently, my results have gone into hyper-drive. I advertised on a blog called Superficial Gallery and the results were staggering. In one 24-hour period, 322 individuals clicked through from my ad on Superficial Gallery to my blog, generating nearly 500 visits from EntreCard alone in that 24-hour period.


So what is it about Superficial Gallery that would generate so much traffic? Well, it's a combination of the special features on the site mixed with a sharp sense of humor and a helluva lot of personality. On Superficial Gallery you will find fascinating and interesting posts, celebrity news, and a whole bunch of the odd and bizarre.

There are whole sections on this blog devoted to forwarded emails, a forum called "The Bat Cave" which is a great place for bloggers to interact with each other in a no holds barred irreverent kind of way, and celebrity photo galleries featuring of all things, the tongues of celebrities, and some great eye candy for both men and women--that's right ladies and gents: shirtless pics of Christian Bale and Gerard Butler side by side with hot pics of the female celebrity of your choice. It's all here.

The key to this site though is that everything is kept light. Nothing is too serious, hence the "superficial" in Superficial Gallery. And that's why this site is so refreshing! With all the world issues bombarding us every day, it's nice to have a place to go to shoot the breeze with other bloggers, laugh at a joke, email or video and to relax--even for just a few minutes a day.

If you advertise on this site using EntreCard, I guarantee you'll generate new traffic to your blog and increase your readership. Check this site out, you won't be disappointed.

Thanks for reading.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday: Beijing











The Beijing Olympic Games are only a week a way, so I thought it'd be nice to see a kinder, gentler, more beautiful side of Beijing than what has been portrayed in the media. The Olympic Games are all about peace and the glory of sport. There will be enough time to talk politics as the games progress, but for now, I hope you've enjoyed the beauty of this ancient city.

Thanks for reading.

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Six Quirks Tag


I was “tagged” by Cindi with this Meme where I am supposed to list six of my quirks and then tag six other people.

Here are the rules:

1. link the person(s) who tagged you--check
2. Mention the rules on your blog--check
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours--check
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged. As my regular readers know, I don't usually perpetuate tags, and this one is no exception, but if you feel like playing along, please go ahead and let me know by leaving a comment and I'll backlink your post here.

With no further ado, I bring you my Six Quirks:

1) When guiding rafts full of nervous guests down the Mighty Nantahala River, I like to look at the camera and give a cheesy grin while everyone else in the raft is having the time of their life or are scared shitless. Or something like that.

2) I prefer pizza cold the next day and I'll often buy a pizza and without taking a bite, put it in the refrigerator for tomorrow's lunch or dinner.

3) I like participating in blogging memes, as long as they're not too feminine-oriented, but I don't like passing them along. I'm kind of picky and I often find that memes just don't fit with the character of my blog. I've been meandering quite a bit recently away from my usual subject matter, and I'd like to get back to that. Some memes are so ridiculous or whimsical or childish that partipating in them is a joke, let alone passing them along to others. That being said, it's important to be ridiculous or whimsical or childish every once in a while, but it's like my mother always said: Everything in Moderation.

4) When I get a song in my head, I'll listen to it over and over and over again. And I don't mean twice or three times or four times...I mean all day for 7 hours straight at work. About 9 years ago in a former life, I actually played Billy Ray Cyrus' You Won't Be Lonely Now all day to the point where the lady in the next cubicle bore false witness against me. She said I was sexually harrassing her. C'mon! It's a country song. I wasn't making a personal statement directed at her about her incessant telephone conversations with her new boyfriend that I had to listen to all day long, and when she wasn't talking to him, she was telling the other female worker next to her loudly enough for me to overhear about her amazing new sex life. Personally, I thought it was amazing that she was having any sex at all, but that's another story. Okay, so I was making a statement. And I admit it might be considered some form of torture to have to listen to the same song all day long, but it really wasn't sexual harrassment. It's not like I was playing Samantha Fox's I Want to Touch Your Body. Trust me. That was never going to happen!

5) I often make up stories just to provoke a certain reaction.

6) The last one is a quirk that my fellow raft guides also claim, and I'll just describe it in the form of a joke:

Q: Do you all know how you can tell when a raft guide is lying?
A: His lips are moving.

Fortunately for the sake of my online credibility, no lips have moved during the writing, typing, or editing of this post.

Thanks for reading.

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Number One at Last!

Thirty-four years after they first charted and over a quarter of a century after they broke up, ABBA scores their first Number One Album in the United States as ABBA Gold makes the biggest gain of any album on the Billboard Charts and climbs from #6 to #1 on the Top Catalog Albums Chart in its 443rd week.

ABBA Gold has sold over 26 Million Copies Worldwide

First released in 1992 at the height of an ABBA revival that saw U2 cover ABBA's Greatest Hit Dancing Queen at every stop on their Zoo Tour, ABBA Gold only reached #63 on the album charts, but it has remained a chart staple ever since, being certified as six times platinum by the RIAA.

ABBA's music has long been described as "timeless" and "multi-generational." Back in the 1970's, unlike any other musical act, it was common for entire families to attend ABBA concerts--wives, husbands, daughters and sons; grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, boyfriends and girlfriends. This multi-generational appeal of ABBA's music has continued over the years as children who grew up with ABBA as the soundtrack of their lives have passed ABBA's music down to children of their own.

And so the built-in audience had already been created by the time Mamma Mia! opened in London and Broadway in 1999 and 2001. And this week, more history is being made as the Original Soundtrack to Mamma Mia! The Movie is the greatest gainer on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and climbs from #7 to #3 in its second week of release.

Number 3 and Skyrocketing Up the Charts

While the stage version of Mamma Mia! has kept theater-goers dancing in the aisles for a decade now with it's simple story, sequinned and satin costumes, and quirky and often hilarious choreography, the major appeal has always been the nostalgic performances of the ABBA classics which the story weaves around. The conversion to a motion picture lost some of that stage charm in translation, however for the first time, Meryl Streep and company have gained performance value which equals the star power of ABBA's music.

That being said, Mamma Mia! The Movie is NOT high art. The movie is not Oscar material. The movie is not an example of brilliant writing or choreography or dancing or cinematography. But what Mamma Mia! achieves that no movie has ever achieved is a pure two hours of unadulterated joy, fun, exuberance and escapism--which ultimately is what you get when you listen to ABBA's music.

ABBA in 1977

It is no surprise to those of us that have grown up with ABBA's music why their music has endured. To this day, when Dancing Queen is played in any club, the dance floor becomes packed. To this day, when Dancing Queen is played on the radio, those in restaurants, in cars, in shopping malls all start grinning and tapping their feet and start to hum or even sing along.

As newspaper columnists around the world are compiling lists of interesting ABBA facts, I figured I would be no exception. So here are some interesting facts about ABBA that you might not have known or read before:

1) Burt Ward, who played Robin on the original Batman television series, was the first President of the ABBA Fan Club in the United States.

2) ABBA was already a well-established brand of canned herring in Sweden when the idea of combining the first letters of each of the band members' names was tossed around, and the group actually had to get permission from the fish-canning company before they could use the name.

3) It is often reported that Dancing Queen is ABBA's greatest worldwide hit, and it is true that Dancing Queen achieved the greatest chart success worldwide in terms of rankings; but Fernando actually sold more copies as a single than Dancing Queen worldwide and was #1 on the Australian Charts for a staggering 16 Weeks.

4) Further, Take A Chance On Me sold more copies in the United States than Dancing Queen, and because of greater longevity in the Top 10 than Dancing Queen on the U.S. Charts, Take A Chance On Me was actually a bigger chart hit than Dancing Queen, even though it only reached #3.

5) Further, Dancing Queen was #1 on the Billboard Top 100 for one week back in 1977, but Dancing Queen was not ABBA's sole U.S. Number One Hit. Both Fernando and The Winner Takes It All were #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart for two weeks. And the medley of Lay All Your Love On Me/Super Trouper/On and On and On was #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart for two weeks.

6) A palindrome is a word or phrase that is a mirror image of itself when it is read forwards and backwards. SOS is the only palindrome song title by the only plaindrome artist ever to hit any worldwide chart.

7) Back in the days of the Cold War, eastern European countries had a hard time generating cash to pay for any consumable goods, let alone record albums. So Poland actually traded crude oil for ABBA albums in order to meet the demand for ABBA albums in that country.

8) Lasse Hallström, the Award Winning Director of such films as The Cider House Rules, actually got his start directing ABBA's music videos. MTV did not go on the air until 1980. The music videos that ABBA produced were cutting edge for the time. Because the demands for ABBA appearances and interviews around the world were so great, ABBA decided to produce "promotional films" for each of their new singles along with taped interviews that they could send to every media market around the world in lieu of their appearance. In this fashion, ABBA actually "appeared" on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon in 1979, and performed their hit Does Your Mother Know.

9) Almost everyone knows of the superstar collaborations of Band-Aid and Do They Know It's Christmas and USA for Africa and We Are the World. But before these great collaborations to raise money for starving children in Africa, ABBA performed at the United Nations in New York in January, 1979 along with Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire, Gilda Radner, Andy Gibb, Kris Kristofferson and others in a Concert for UNICEF. All participating artists recorded a song and donated its royalties in perpetuity to UNICEF as a fundraising gift for then and for the future. ABBA's contribution was the song Chiquitita, which was a worldwide #1 hit in Spanish speaking countries, and indeed, ABBA recorded a version of Chiquitita in Spanish. To this day, Chiquitita is generating more revenue for UNICEF than any other artist's contribution. And when you go see Mamma Mia! on stage, or at the movies or buy a copy of ABBA Gold, a portion of the revenue is contributed to UNICEF because of the inclusion of Chiquitita in those works.

10) It is often reported that ABBA wasn't critically respected at the time by their peers. While this is certainly true of most music critics of the time, nothing could have been further from the truth. When SOS came out none other than Pete Townsend of The Who proclaimed that "SOS was the greatest pop rock song ever written." Saturday Night Live has always been known for showcasing cutting edge rock artists. ABBA appeared on the fifth episode of SNL in its very first season and performed SOS. John Lennon said the same thing of Knowing Me, Knowing You that Pete Townsend said about SOS. Additionally, ABBA was always on the cutting edge of recording technology. In 1979, ABBA's own recording studio, Polar Music Studio, opened in Stockholm. The first recording act to record an album at ABBA's new studio was Led Zeppelin. That's right. In Through the Out Door was recorded at Polar Music Studio. And finally, in 1982 when ABBA released The Singles: The First Ten Years, giving all of us hope at the time that there would be a second ten years of ABBA music, Rolling Stone gave the greatest hits compilation a glowing five-star review.

ABBA in 2004

It's been a long wait for ABBA's first number one album in America! And after 34 long years, it's evident that ABBA has finally arrived and have been embraced wholeheartedly by the only worldwide market that ABBA never completely conquered.

Tell me, are you an ABBA fan? And if so, have you always said you were or have you only enjoyed ABBA as a guilty pleasure in secret from your friends and families? We all have ABBA stories to tell, and I want to hear yours.

Note: If you liked this post, please vote for it on Yearblook.

Thanks for reading.

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Help Me, Help You

Julianne Hough's debut album is not only growing on me, it's embedding itself into my psyche. Help Me, Help You is a brilliant song about addiction. I know people with drug and alcohol problems. I've watched two of my own family members fall into the descent of alcohol abuse. When you're a child, it can be completely terrifying seeing a parent lying unconscious on the floor. And watching a brother follow that parent's footsteps and not knowing how to stop it is one of the most helpless feelings I've ever experienced.

I'm sure many of you know others who have battled with addiction as well. For me, one of the most frustrating things as I do my best to try to help them is that often they don't recognize that they have a problem at all. It's true, admission is the first step in dealing with addiction--and that is what Julianne Hough's Help Me, Help You is all about.

Go ahead, press play on the video. This is one song that all of us need to hear. We can all gain strength from the story Julianne tells in song, and use it as we try to help those whom we love.

What stories of addiction can you share here on MTMD, and what strategies did you use to help them help themselves? I'd really like to know.

Thanks for reading.

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Holy Stardom Batman! Julianne Hough is the Real Deal!


We all know who Julianne Hough is, the two-time Dancing With The Stars Mirror Ball Champion with Apollo Anton-Ohno and Helio Castravernes. Julianne is like America's sweetheart: young, beautiful, a terrific dancer, Emmy-nominated choreograher, and now, with the release of her debut Country Album, a bonafide Nashville Star.

I had no idea she could sing. Friday I spent the day in Asheville watching The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia!. After Mamma Mia! ended, I went over to Best Buy to purchase the soundtrack. In the new releases section, this beautiful woman on the cover of a CD caught my eye. My response was "No Way!" So I picked up Julianne's CD and bought it too. And surprisingly--especially considering my well-documented obsession with ABBA and their music--I've been listening to Julianne quite a bit this past week.


According to her website, Julianne is one of five blonde children who grew up in Utah. Their family was once referred to as the "Blonde Osmonds". And now I know why. I won't say that this CD is brilliant. I think some songs have a lot going for them, especially the duet between Julianne and her Dancing with the Stars Co-star and brother Derek Hough in which Derek demonstrates a voice even better than Julianne's and a far cry above all the male leads in Mamma Mia!.

But Julianne demonstrates a real depth of emotion with a smooth vocal style that is suited for both uptempo numbers and slow, heartbreaking country ballads; and she sings with a maturity that belies not only her nineteen years but also the effervescent personality she has always showcased on Dancing with the Stars.

Highlights on the CD are Dreaming Under the Same Moon, her duet with brother Derek; Hide Your Matches, a sultry love song; and Help Me, Help You a plea reaching out to all those suffering from addiction to seek help, treatment and counseling. Julianne Hough has a social conscious, an outstanding personality, looks, and as her website hints, a career as an actress sometime down the road.

Trust me on this and feel free to quote me: Julianne is a rising star. She is the real deal and just one listen will confirm that she has a very bright future in country music ahead of her. I predict she will be the greatest talent and star of her generation. Pick up her CD in the store or download it to your computer and add the tracks to your mp3 player. You'll soon see what I mean.

Thanks for reading.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday: Skopelos & Skiathos








I've seen the movie Mamma Mia! twice now, and I couldn't believe how incredibly beautiful the setting of the film was. The colors were so intense. The water was such an amazing turquoise blue. The sun was so bright. So I went online to investigate, and sure enough, the Greek islands of Skopelos and Skiathos, where Mamma Mia! was filmed are indeed as beautiful, if not more so, than they appeared in the movie. Like The Lord of the Rings was a travelogue for New Zealand, Mamma Mia! is a travelogue for Greece. My bags are packed, I'm ready to go.

Thanks for reading.

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Riddle of the Universe Solved!


I have often wondered, as so many millions have before me, if a tree falls in the wilderness and there is no one around to see it, does it indeed make a sound?

After last night's thunderstorm came through, I can answer unequivocally a resounding YES!

I was just sitting down to dinner in my little house in the woods and others were milling about on the west end of our communal complex when suddenly leaves started flying past my window, the sky turned grey, and there was this horrendous, bone-crushing, loud crash.

"Oh please, please, please," I thought. "Please not my car!"

I needn't have worried. After quickly throwing on a shirt and my river sandals, I walked outside and saw everyone else head towards the highway where a massive tree branch had fallen across the road. Traffic was already stopped. So about 20 of us raft guides did what raft guides do...we lined up, grabbed the tree, and pulled it off the road. Traffic resumed without so much as a wave of thanks from the motorists.


But even though none of us were around to see the tree smack the pavement, we all heard it, thus proving once and for all that when trees fall in the wilderness, they do indeed make a sound.

Unfortunately, the tree episode was not the last of the evening. While there was no tornadic activity, and only a brief period of intense rain and the high winds had passed us by with the super cell; our power did go out, and with it, power to the pump in our well--which we are still waiting for the power company to restore. That means no water.

So I packed up my toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash and brought them to work with me this morning. But it got me to thinking. For a few seconds there this morning with no water, I thought..."What do I do?" It was almost comical, really, if you think about it. The same guy who takes hundreds of guests down the river every year, the same guy trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, the same guy who helped pull a fallen tree off the highway, couldn't figure out how to brush his teeth.

It just goes to show you all the things we take for granted until they're not around. Water is kind of important.


And as hurricane season ramps up into high gear with Dolly now threatening somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, I encourage all of you reading this post to take the time to check your home first-aid kits and emergency supplies. Do you have a plan for a prolonged power outage? Do you have bottled water and unexpired canned food around to feed you and your family and your pets for a week? Do you have an evacuation plan in case of a hurricane or any other natural disaster?

These are all things to think about ahead of time so that when the tree smacks the pavement near you, you're not wondering--like I was this morning--what to do.

Thanks for reading.

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Join the Free Comments Defense League!

It began as a comment on Steven Humour's post Comment On This Post, Receive No Credits, But Still Laugh At the Video. Being the smart ass that I am, after commenting on the video, I said:
P.S. If you would like to give me 3 EntreCard Credits for this comment, I’ll be happy to accept the transfer.

Steven, being the smart ass that he is, sent me five EntreCard Credits.

I responded to that gesture and Steven suggested we form a club where we drop EntreCards on blogs that have SezWho installed and ask for credit donations. Since we do not have SezWho installed, we will not receive credits from EntreCard, so it's only fair that the blog owners send us credits for our comments, right? In case any of you were wondering, as we have all recently learned from The New Yorker, satire is a good thing, right?

Thus, just a few hours ago, the Free Comments Defense League was born complete with a graphic and a blogroll.

If you believe in freely giving comments without anything in exchange and wish to join the blogroll, please comment here with your blog name, email address and URL. I will send you the code to install in your sidebar. Membership in the FCDL is limited to 100 blogs.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget our first meeting next Thursday night at 8:00 pm UT-5!

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Darkness and Light Four Star Weekend: The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia!


Today is "Saturday at the Movies with my friend Jean from Sizzling Popcorn and MTMD. Last night we both saw The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia! and decided to collaborate together on an EntreCard blogosphere movie review. We hope you'll enjoy!

MTMD: Where is the dividing line between a movie and a morality play? When is a movie a fun escape, and when is it a descent into the darkest corners of our minds? Today at the Movies with MTMD and Sizzling Popcorn, we examine both Darkness and Light with our reviews of Batman: The Dark Knight, and Mamma Mia!

How are you this evening, SP?

SP: I'm doing fantastic! Just came out of Mamma Mia! and whoa!....Mamma Mia! was hilarious!

MTMD: I agree. And I'm glad I saw it after The Dark Knight, because by the time THAT movie ended, I needed some laughter.

SP: That's true! Batman returns in The Dark Knight, the second film in the revamped franchise. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and the new District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to fight crime in Gotham City. The Joker, a new criminal king pin, shows up in town, threating to kill one person each day Batman doesn't reveal himself. Batman is caught with a dilemna: die as a hero or live as the villain. What will he choose?

MTMD: Without giving away the answer to that question, I have to say that this movie impressed me beyond words. I thought it was a fine cinematic achievement that not only surpassed Batman Begins, but set a new standard for the way real moral questions are anguished over by fictional characters in cinema. What did you think?

SP: The Dark Knight brings realism to the franchise, which sort of was lacking in the first four films, but those weren't made to be dark. They were made to entertain the comic book and TV series fans. Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker was phenomenal! His effort was the glue that kept this movie together. I find that a lot of superhero films these days raise questions about morals. Let's take Spider-Man for example. "With much power comes much responsibility." I think that it's good for films to bring up these questions as it makes us think, but it also reminds each and everyone of us what we personally believe.

MTMD: Exactly. And while Batman is not a hero in the usual sense of the word, guided by conscious his actions were more heroic than that of the District Attorney, played wonderfully by Aaron Eckart. I find it amazing that through all Bruce Wayne / Batman has been through, and with all the reason he has to kill, he absolutely will not compromise his morals at the expense of his own reputation--still choosing to find another way. I find that inspiring, and I believe it gives a much stronger message than the homilies of Spiderman.

SP: I'm not sure how the weather was in North Carolina today, but this morning I checked the national weather on CTV NewsNET (the equivalent to CNN or Fox News in Canada) and from Vancouver, British Columbia (the West Coast) all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia (East Coast) the forecast was thunderstorms. All day it was either dark or thunderstorms. For us in Canada, it really was "The Dark Friday".

MTMD: And I don't think they get any darker than with Heath Ledger as the Joker. I must say, I was so captivated by the late Heath Ledger's performance. It was arresting. Tragic, sinister, humourous at times in a very dark way, calculating and diabolic. I can't recall any character ever as dark as the Joker, or better played than perhaps the sole exception of Anthony Hopkin as Hannibal Lechter. Could Oscar be calling for Ledger come February?

SP: I think that Heath will not just be nominated, but that he will be rewarded with an Oscar for his compelling performance. I can't think of any other actor that could do a better job. In the early development stages, Christopher Nolan had thought of Marilyn Manson, but I'm glad he never went that route. Going that route might have attempted to make The Joker scarier, but he would have been a complete nightmare trying to act. I'm very well pleased with Nolan's decision to cast Heath Ledger.

SP: Locking yourself in an apartment for a month to prepare yourself for your role is intense! Too intense for most actors.

MTMD: The only other actors that I know of who performed such feats were Ledger's co-star, Christian Bale--losing over 100 pounds for his role in The Machinist, and Adrien Brody for his Oscar winning role in the Pianist. So, what was the highlight of The Dark Knight for you?

SP: What I really liked was the bat sound when the tension was increasing to a climax. I had no clue what was going to happen and then all of a sudden they switch to another character in the film. What was your favorite scene?

MTMD: I noticed the sound effects as well and thought they were brilliant! But to answer your question, I really enjoyed all the places where everyone got to choose what was right from what was wrong. And it wasn't just the main characters of Harvey Dent or Bruce Wayne as Batman. But Lucius Fox in taking a stand about one man possessing too much power and the way Bruce Wayne resolved it in the end, and even more so the way the passengers on the two boats had to decide if they would choose to kill the others on the other boat so that they could live, or if they would not make that choice resulting in everyone on both boats dying. The most surprising scene was the choice the convicted murderer made--which to me was a microcosm of the entire film--that with one shining example, good could overcome evil in Gotham City--and if it could happen in Gotham, it could happen in the rest of the world.

I think Christopher Nolan went to lengths to bring that out in the film without being preachy, condescending, or over the top. I believe this gives all of us hope. I mean, I would have expected the convicted murderer to make a different choice, just as I'm sure we all think we know what to expect from those from Palestine or Syria or Iraq or Iran or China or anywhere where we hope for the best, but in reality, we all really expect the worst. To me, scenes like this in blockbuster movies like this one give me hope. And when the entertainment industry can pull this off in a film like the Dark Knight, that so many around the world will see, I think it gives the world hope. And that's the most of what we can expect from art.

SP: I totally agree with that. Whether we're good or bad, we have choices to make. Even though we might be bad, we can still make good choices and vice versa. "It's not who you are, but what you do that defines you." - Batman Begins

MTMD: could be one of 22 ABBA hits that drive the movie adaptation of the blockbuster Worldwide Theater Hit Mamma Mia! starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Stellen Skarsgard, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper and the music of ABBA in what is by far the most unabashedly joyful, exuberant, and fun movie ever to appear on the silver screen!

SP: Yes...could you give the readers the scoop on the film?

MTMD: It would be my pleasure. Essentially, the story is simple. Days before her wedding on a Greek Island where her mother Donna owns and runs a Villa, Sophie sends out three wedding invitations to her three possible fathers. All her life Sophie was told her mother did not know who the father was, but upon discovering her mother's diary, three possible candidates emerge. As everyone arrives in Greece for the wedding, an inter-generational love story plays out with numerous intersecting love triangles. One of the characters, Tanya--played by Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Christine Baranski, actually comments "How Greek" referring to a Greek Tragedy. But this movie, built more around incorporating ABBA's legendary catalog of worldwide hits than a story made to hold water is at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum from darkness and tragedy. When you hear ABBA music, it's almost impossible not to find yourself grinning or your foot tapping along to the beat. Watching this talented cast tell this story while breaking into song with ABBA's biggest hits is nothing short of pure joy and light.

SP: As I was catching this flick tonight, I heard people around me singing the tunes they knew. Mamma Mia! is interactive, especially during the closing credits. Do not leave the theater until you see the treat the cast has for you in the credits.

MTMD: I'm sure the 30 million theater goers who have seen the musical on stage have already tipped off the movie goers.

SP: I really like Donna's (Streep's) two girl friends, Rosie and Tanya, as they're wildly hilarious! And I would have never expected to hear Pierce Brosnan sing, but he does! His voice might not be the best, but he can certainly hold a tune.

MTMD: Well, I'm going to have to disagree with you on Pierce Brosnan's singing credentials, however you're dead-on about the hilarity of Rosie and Tanya. The major criticism with the stage show was that ABBA's music out-shone the cast and the story. With the movie and this amazingly talented cast, I think the hilarious and touching performances turned in by the entire ensemble rise to the occasion and shine as brightly as ABBA's music in the movie. The prime example is one of the early scenes where Meryl Streep and Julie Walters and Christine Baranski sing Dancing Queen--ABBA's biggest hit. Just as their performance got the entire Greek island singing, every time Dancing Queen is heard in a bar or club, everyone gets up and dances. It was no exception in the theater.

SP: The "Dancing Queen" scene reminded me of a Viagara commercial from a couple of years ago. In the commercial, all the men were leaving their houses and walking on the streets with big smiles on their faces. In the movie, the women were leaving what they were doing to follow the others as they were going down to the dock singing "Dancing Queen".

MTMD: LOL! Or it could have been the Pied Piper of Hamlin....when ABBA music is played, who can resist? I sure couldn't. I had a wide grin plastered on my face for the entire two hours of Mamma Mia!

SP: I had sent my parents to a premiere of the movie as I was at The Dark Knight premiere and they said that they had a big smile on their face throughout the movie. What do you have to say about the moral of this story?

MTMD: Well unlike The Dark Knight, there is no moral to Mamma Mia! Mamma Mia! is just plain escapist fun. In the world we live in with so much tragedy and natural disaster and darkness, people need an outlet. Mamma Mia! opened on Broadway shortly after 9/11. I think it quickly became a hit because in dark times, people need escape and a way to have fun more than ever. ABBA's music is joyful, and I suppose that's the reason why their music has endured now for 35 years. And I'm certain that's why the musical is, and now the movie will be, such a massive hit.

SP: How would you rate Mamma Mia!?

MTMD: You know, I'd rate both The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia! 4 Stars for different reasons. I'd give The Dark Knight 4 Stars for story and for character and
for acting and for being the complete package of being a morality play in the form of a movie that will stand the test of time. I'd give Mamma Mia! 4 Stars because it is pure fun and unabashed joy. There has never been a movie like this in the history of the silver screen. There have been comedies, there have been musicals, but Mamma Mia! is just pure joy packaged into a two-hour tribute to having fun for the sake of having fun, and to one of the greatest pop groups the world has ever seen.

SP: I'd give The Dark Knight a Sizzling Popcorn rating (4 1/2 stars) for it's direction, score and cast. Heath Ledger's performance put this movie over the top and makes it the best blockbuster of the summer and one of the top 10 movies of the year. On the other hand, I'd give Mamma Mia! a Popcorn rating (3.5 stars) for the fun memories of the ABBA hits and it's well-know cast. Whether you've seen the play or not doesn't matter. If you're looking for a film to relax to and have fun with Mamma Mia! is the way to go!

MTMD: And that, as they say, is The Name of the Game! Thank You For The Music!

SP: That's all folks!

MTMD: Until next time, this has been Saturday Night at the Movies with MTMD and Sizzling Popcorn.

Thank you for reading.

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Commenting Best Practices

Over the last 4 weeks, I have had some excellent discussions with other bloggers regarding the most effective use of comments to engage other bloggers and readers of any given blog. Yesterday, EntreCard announced a partnership with SezWho in what EntreCard hoped would generate more quality comments and ultimately more traffic to the bloggers using SezWho with Entrecard.


However, after installing SezWho twice on my blog and watching it generate fatal errors in Internet Explorer and Display Errors in Firefox, and after discussions with other bloggers who have similar issues and different points of view, it appears that this time EntreCard has failed in executing what could have been a very good idea. Ultimately it's not about providing an incentive for bloggers to make quality comments in exchange for credits. Ultimately it's about always generating interesting and thought provoking quality content and building your own blogging community of engaged readers.

This post will attempt to analyze where EntreCard went wrong with this latest partnership, and then it will provide what I believe to be a comprehensive commenting strategy to achieve the goal of enhancing any given blog's readership and increasing traffic.

But before I get into the discussion at length, I want to acknowledge five bloggers who have engaged me in this discussion, and to them I owe in part my ideas, so I would like to share credit with Mrs. Mecomber of New York Traveler.Net, Ken Armstrong of Ken's Writing Stuff, Mariuca of Wishing on a Falling Star, Mama Flo of Mama Flo's Place, and the Monkey at Monkey Fables and Tales.


The intent of EntreCard's partnership with SezWho was to incorporate a rating system into participating bloggers' comments sections to increase the quality and relevance of comments, provide an incentive to make quality and relevant comments, and thus by simply engaging bloggers with each other to drive more traffic to participating blogger's blogs. In theory, it sounds brilliant. But the discussions that have taken place, especially on Mama Flo's and The Monkey's blogs, and even EntreCard's own blog have been telling.

EntreCard made three major errors in rolling out this partnership, thus greatly limiting any benefit to EntreCard members: 1. The Partnership was rolled out before bugs in the SezWho software were eliminated. 2. EntreCard essentially dictated that users had to use the SezWho plug-in whether they wanted to or not. 3. Just the same as not having time to drop cards, bloggers don't have time to comment for compensation.

1. SezWho Software Bugs
What became very apparent in the first hours of the SezWho / EntreCard partnership roll out was that there were a great many bugs with the SezWho scripts. While the announcement on the EntreCard Blog said SezWho was compatible with Blogger, Wordpress and other platforms, it became painfully obvious that the SezWho script did NOT work with Blogger. In fact, the script caused display errors and it failed to install the rating stars in the comment section of Blogger posts--instead the rating stars appeared at the end of the posts. The idea of the SezWho plub-in is to rate comments, not posts. Additionally, for many users, the SezWho script causes fatal errors in Internet Explorer and caused blogs not to load in various versions of the IE browser. Additionally, SezWho did not support WordPress 2.6, SezWho did not support Joomla, and there were other platforms that could not make use of SezWho as well.

Two things: The first here is that if a service like EntreCard is going to roll out a great new program to engage bloggers and generate traffic, it is incumbent on EntreCard to ensure that the program would be functional for all of its users. EntreCard succeeded in doing so by rolling out the Digg initiative a couple weeks ago. However, that program as well was rolled out with little forethought or training for EntreCard Users and resulted in a massive misuse of Digg by many EntreCarders who had no experience using Digg or who were not sure how to use Digg to their advantage.

But secondly, unlike Digg, SezWho just does not work on all the blogging platforms SezWho claims they support. EntreCard should have performed better due dilligence in this regard before rolling it out as a partnership. Yes, SezWho has been responsive in tech support to try and correct these issues with its scripts, but in doing so they have actually created more issues. Our blogs are not SezWho test sites, but they are being used as test sites to solve problems with SezWho scripts at the expense of any given blog's readers who are trying to access the blogs. But instead of seeing a new feature, those readers are seeing display errors and/or blogs that just fail to load.

2. EntreCard Dictates Use of SezWho
Rolling out a brand new program to benefit bloggers is one thing. Dictating that bloggers change software and/or plug-ins to take advantage of the porgram's benefits is another. Very quickly after the partnership rollout it became clear that many bloggers were already using various comment systems such as Intense Debate and Disqus, among others. For SezWho to work in blogs with these alternatives already in place, those plug-ins would first have to be removed. That's discriminatory and frankly, a little arrogant on the part of EntreCard.

The way the SezWho/EntreCard partnership works is that EntreCards awards credits for those who use SezWho and who rate other participating blogger's comments and the comments made on their own posts. This will result in EntreCard Credits. So anyone using another system and who doesn't want to change to SezWho can't earn the same credits for his or her own commenting behavior. What EntreCard should have done is picked a plug-in, any plug-in, maybe even SezWho and gone ahead with its comment award system. But EntreCard should also have worked out a way to honor the systems already in place by EntreCard users if they wanted to retain their current system. Whether it be Intense Debate or some other system. Forcing bloggers to switch is disruptive on a large scale, and it excludes those bloggers from the program's benefits if they decide not to switch.

3. Commenting for Compensation is Just a Bad Idea
EntreCard's intent was good. Reward great commenters with EntreCard credits. And why not? It's hard to drop 300 cards every day. It takes a lot of time. Why not provide an alternative avenue for earning EntreCard Credits?

The thing is though that EntreCard's system is flawed. First it involves the ratings of other people's comments to earn those credits based on non-objective criteria that are different for every blogger, and it also involves a judgement on the part of those running EntreCard as to what a good, quality comment is. Sometimes a good comment on a Wordless Wednesday post might be: That photo is so beautiful. What more would EntreCard want to make that short sentence into a quality comment? An art major's dissertation on the way lighting is used to make the photo beautiful? Let's face it, political blogs can more easily engage their readers in in-depth discussion that could generate more "quality" comments than a blog that posts pictures of the blogger's cat. (I don't mean you, Daisy, of course. ;)

Secondly, it takes time to comment. Most bloggers will comment if they come across a post they find interesting and feel compelled to comment on. But while it is not the intent of this EntreCard program, what it accomplishes by effect is that it encourages comment spam. For those out there really looking for the EntreCard credits, they will post comments that may not be relevant but sound good for the sole purpose of earning EntreCard credits. And the reason why this would naturally be true is that bloggers already have their own commenting patterns. Bloggers freely give comments for what they feel moves them to comment. They're still going to do this in the time they have available for commenting and blogging, but this program will not give them more time to comment more. If EntreCard rewards these comments with credits, great. But EntreCard does not provide more time, and encouraging commenting in this way, just like the encouragment to digg posts, involves another step or two in the commenting process.

In a perfect world, I would be independently wealthy and thus able to spend all day browsing blogs, reading posts, and writing long, thoughtful, pithy and witty comments. But I work for a living and have limited time to blog, limited time to drop EntreCards, limited time to digg posts, and limited time to rate comments for a few extra EntreCard Credits. It's just not worth the time it takes to rate comments.

And finally, rating comments for credits is a little cheap. When someone leaves a comment on my site, or when I leave a comment on someone else's site, it's because I have been moved in some way to express myself to that blogger or that blogger feels he or she needs to express himself or herself to me. If I'm being rewarded with credits for my comments, then my comments are devalued because the blogger will never know if I'm being sincere or if I'm just doing it for the credits.

In a lot of ways this is like pay per post or social spark, or any other form of paid advertising. Yes, I'm discriminating. I will not accept money to write a paid post for something I have no interest in or something that I don't agree with. But let's face it, if I'm being paid for my post, I might not be as critical--if it's a review post, for example--then I would be otherwise if I were writing it on my own because of my interest without getting paid. It's the same with comments. This program will encourage those commenting for credits to change their language to get better ratings for their comments. And in that way, all those comments end up being devalued.

For those of you who will be using SezWho, I wish you well. If this means you will no longer comment on my blog posts because you will not receive credits for doing so, I'm sorry. I'd like to think the reason you read my blog and chose to comment is because you remain interested in the topics I write about. But if that's not the case then go and earn your credits elsewhere.

For those of you who will be using SezWho and continuing to comment on my blog, I really must thank you because I value your time, and I really appreciate what you have to say. If my posts can generate any kind of interest for you or perhaps help you in some way, then I am most gratified and I will always be most appreciative of your comments--especially because it still will take you time to make them, and you will not be compensated for them with EntreCard Credits.

The jury is still out on the SezWho/EntreCard Partnership. It's possible that the scripts will be fixed. It's possible that more support for non-supported blogging platforms will be created. It's possible that EntreCard can find a way to reward bloggers who make quality comments with credits even if they don't use SezWho and use some other plug-in or even none at all. But like other recent roll-outs from EntreCard, this one just seems to have been done too quickly without enough thought or a plan of implemenation that would be easy and make sense for everyone--and not cause issues of concern--such as all blogs using SezWho with blogger to cause fatal errors in Internet Explorer.

Now that I've talked about the EntreCard/SezWho Partnership, I want to talk about commenting strategies that actually will work in generating engaged readers of your blogs and generate more traffic to your blog. Over the last three months since I've resumed blogging from a one year absence, these strategies have worked for me in improving my Alexa ranking from over 16 million to under 200,000. Additionally, my Technorati Authority has gone up from 9 to 102. This is just in three months. And I'm not killing myself spending more than an hour or two blogging each day. The most time-consuming aspect of blogging for me is dropping EntreCards. If I continue to follow these strategies, by the end of the year I should be very pleased with the results, and you should be too. So without further ado, these strategies are what I've learned on my own, and what I've learned through detailed discussions and back and forths with other very successful bloggers. I hope you find them helpful.


1) Write Quality, Thought-Provoking Posts.
Let's face it, if you write posts of the highest quality, readers will take notice. Not only will you build traffic by engaging your readers, you'll find that your readers will comment on your posts, will Digg or Stumble them, will share them with their friends, and might even nominate them for an award or two. Nothing proves this more than my recent post Circles, which has become Yearblook's most popular post of the year; has generated the praise of a nationally renowned poet, Taylor Mali; has generated 15 comments and 41 diggs; has won a prize from another blog, the Plotdog Press; and has generated 4 more loyal readers of my blog through the referrals of other bloggers. If just one post can do all this, imagine what could happen if your blog was filled with posts like this. I've thought about it, and I'm trying to generate more posts with the quality of Circles.

2) Comment. Comment. Comment whenever you can.
But set your commenting standards high and always take the high ground. We all want comments. We all want to be read. We all want to be acknowledged, even if we are blogging just for ourselves. But no matter what your blogging style is, what theme your blog has, or the reasons why you blog; set your standards high and stick to them. Be nice. Be positive. Follow the Golden Rule. Avoid any form of negativity directed at another blogger. Freely acknowledge great work when you come across it. Don't get into flame wars. Maintain your personal integrity and high personal standards. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it. Never settle for something less than your best because you don't have the time. If you follow these principles, your kind words will get results and others will read your posts, list you in their blog rolls, and comment on your posts, digg your posts, stumble your posts and share them with friends and family and other bloggers.

3) Relevant Comments vs. Non-relevant comments.
I've gone back and forth on this issue with my friends Mrs. Mecomber and Ken Armstrong, and I've seen a different practice altogether by my friend Mariuca--who typically gets over 100 comments for each of her posts. I know, it's insane. But I have a theory about Mariuca that I'll get to next.

Anyway, some debate occurred because I read on a blog somewhere that when you receive a comment, you should reply in two places: 1st on your own blog, 2nd on the blog of the person that left the comment to show that person that you read the comment, that you appreciate the comment, that you have a reply and to engage the other commenters on the other blogger's blog. For example, let's say I have a movie review for Batman: The Dark Knight and I get 10 comments. I reply to all 10 commenters in my blog. Then I copy those responses to all 10 commenters and paste all those responses in one comment on the blogs of all those who commented. After discussing this practice with Ken Armstrong, we agreed that it could generate interest in the other commenters on the other blogs that might cause those commenters to seek out the blogs of the 10 commenters. We agreed it might be distracting when the comment appeared on a post unrelated to Batman: The Dark Knight because it's out of context. But we also agreed that it was better to reply to the commenters on their own blogs so that they could see that their comments had been read and acknowledged rather than only responding on my blog where, if the commenter never returned to see a response, might never know the response was there.

Mrs. Mecomber had another opinion entirely, and that was that all comments should be relevant. Mrs. Mecomber's blog is on New York Travel. If she commented on my Batman movie review on my blog, any comment I might add to her recent posts on, for example, the Erie Canal, really amounts to spam. My response to her Batman Comment and my responses to every other Batman comment don't belong on her post about the Erie Canal. It would be confusing for her readers, not relevant content, and an unwelcome intrusion on her blog.

Maybe it's because replying to all 10 commenters individually in one mass-produced comment response and pasting them on every commenters blog takes up a lot of space, but other bloggers leave non-relevant comments all the time. When someone diggs one of my posts, they'll comment: "I dugg your post, please come to my blog and digg mine." That's not relevant. On my recent post, another blogger will come by and say "Happy 4th of July, Matt. I hope you had a good holiday." That comment left on a non-4th of July post is not relevant, but it means well. Or, after a blogger votes for my post Circles on Yearblook or in my current Battle of the Blog on Blog Explosion, and the blogger comes back and tells me so in a comment on my new Wordless Wednesday post, well, those comments aren't relevant either, but I appreciate the thought--even if they have nothing to do with my post.

So it's very clear that there are lots of opinions out there regarding relevant comments versus non-relevant comments. And it's my opinion that there is enough room in the blogosphere for both, and what I have learned from the discussion is this: just like a stock portfolio that should be diversified, it's necessary to be diversified in your comments as well. A combination of relevance and non-relevance in one comment is acceptable, and a weighting of relevance versus non-relevance really should be determined by a post. Let me explain:

For example, on Mrs. Mecomber's Erie Canal post--which was very detailed and well-written, non-relevance should be minimized. My response here would be a thoughtful couple of sentences on topic to her Erie Canal post, and then perhaps a btw, here's my response to your comment on my Batman Review Post--deleting all other responses to other commenters. If I was on a blog that was also reviewing Batman, then I could post the entire response to all 10 commenters like this: That's an interesting review. I enjoyed where you talked about the darkness of Heath Ledger's acting. You described that in such depth I really saw that performance in an entirely different way. Here's my response to your comment on my Batman Review on my blog, and because you might find the other commenter's responses interesting, following my response to you are my responses to all others who also commented on my Batman Review--here those comments are relevant. On Mrs. Mecomber's blog post, they are not relevant.

Another way to handle it without being intrusive would be to refer the commenter back to the original blog post that was commented on. For example, on the Erie Canal post, I might comment: Mrs. Mecomber, that is an outstanding post. I found it quite informative and interesting blah blah blah. Also, I just wanted to let you know that I recently responded to your comment on my post: Batman: The Dark Knight. You can find that response {here--insert link}. Thanks and have a great day. Or something to that effect.

Does that make sense? What do the rest of you feel about comments that are either relevant, non-relevant, or somewhere in between? I'd really like to know what you think. But before you respond, I want to give you the case of Mariuca!


4) The Mariuca Example
Okay, this is INSANE! The last five posts on Wishing on a Falling Star have 100 comments, 260 comments, 129 comments, 100 comments, and 153 comments. And for you EntreCarders, Mariuca has not been selected for a Comment Rush.

To quote Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) from Kill Bill "I'll tell you."

Mariuca is the most friendly blogger in the blogosphere. I recently recognized her with an award and in my post I say that, among other nice things. But what is Mariuca's secret? It's not her template. It's not her content. It's not her memes. It's not her blogroll. It's not her photographs. It's not her personality. We all have these elements just the same as Mariuca does. But where Mariuca stands out is in her commenting practices.

I don't know how long Mariuca has been blogging, but she has built her own rock-solid blogging community unlike any other on the net. And like any gardener tending her garden, she nurtures every member of her community. She has memes in which she names for participation different members of her community. She gives awards in which she finds something for just about everyone in her community. She participates in Battle of the Blogs on Blog Explosion and when she votes for a blogger in her community, she comments on that blog's most recent post letting him or her know she voted for him or her and wishes him or her a good day. When she reads a post she likes, she writes a comment. When she sees a photo she likes, she writes a comment. At the end of the month, Mariuca writes a post thanking her top ten commenters and passes out some link love.

Mariuca is always positive, always friendly, always consistent and manages to touch base with just about every blogger in her community every day or two. I can't imagine how much time she spends blogging. But cultivating her blogging community is something she does better than any other blogger, and that's why she has regular readers, about a billion incoming links, and more comments on her posts than a lot of national newspaper columnists.

The comments that Mariuca makes are not always relevant to the posts she comments on, such as Battle of the Blogs acknowledgements, but that can be forgiven because she bends over backwards to comment and run while she drops and runs.

5) Using Digg and Stumble and Social Networking Sites
My last best practice for this post is to talk about using Digg and Stumble and other Social Networking sites. I'm not going to go into huge detail here because one, this is a really long post as it is, and two, I describe the Digg strategy in detail HERE.

When you receive a Digg, Comment. When you give a Digg, Comment. This is actually quite simple. When you receive a comment on your blog, you are probably accustomed to commenting back. It's the same principle. If you use services or social networking sites such as Digg or Stumble or Social Spark or any other one; every day you will probably receive Diggs or stumbles or the other equivalent, normally on your most recent posts. Using Digg as an example, if you have favorited your post, it appears on your profile page. Click on the posts that have Diggs. There is a button below the post for you to click on to see which Digg users have Dugg your post. Click on those users, go to their blogs, and comment on their current post and thank them for Digging your post. The advantages of doing so are the same as they are with comments for normal reasons. You will get to know other bloggers and increase interactivity. You don't have to Digg their post if you don't like it, and really, you shouldn't. But you should comment and acknowledge the Digg.

The corollary also applies. If you digg or stumble someone's post, comment on that post. Tell the blogger you are digging or stumbling it, and give them a real quality comment as to what you found interesting about the post and what characteristics of the post have caused you to want to digg it, stumble it, or share it in any way. You'll engage other bloggers this way, build your own blogging community, and increase your comments and traffic to your blog.

These five strategies I list are rather simple. But most solutions to difficult and complex problems are often very simple. They are proven to work, and the more time you have to devote to them the better.

What strategies have you used to generate comments and traffic? Comment here with your ideas and I'll compile them all together for mass distribution and some link love for all.


UPDATE July 18, 8:00 AM
Check this out everyone...26 comments so far on a very long post that's just relevant. I don't know if it's a Quality Post or not, but I think it demonstrates that if you make a post of interest to your readers, the comments will follow.

Thanks for reading.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday: Charlevoix the Beautiful

Sunset on Lake Charlevoix

Marina on Round Lake

Charlevoix Country Club Entrance

Charlevoix Country Club Clubhouse and Restaurant

Beaver Islander Returning to Port on Round Lake from Lake Michigan

Typical House on Lake Charlevoix

Aerial View of Round Lake and the Pine River Channel leading to Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Beach and Lighthouse

Honoring "Wishing on a Falling Star"

Wishing on a Falling Star

Over the last month, there have been a great many blogging awards given out to and shared with other bloggers in the Blogging Circles I participate in. MTMD has received its fair share of these awards, and passed along a few of them as well. But there's one more that I'd like to award this month: The MTMD Blog Award of Excellence.

MTMD Blog Award of Excellence

This is an award I gave out on a monthly basis when I first started blogging back in 2006, but I had taken it out of circulation and put it on the shelf in a closet where it has just kind of been gathering dust. The reason why I stopped giving out this award is because blogging awards were becoming almost cliche. Everyone appreciates recognition for their work, but sometimes blogging awards were given out for the sake of giving out an award and compiling a link list and pointing to an individual blog, so the whole award thing kind of soured for me.

However, over the last month or so, there has been such a flurry of good will and praise and honor and excitement over the distribution of all kinds of awards--inspirational ones, creative ones, friendship ones, sense of humor ones, etc, etc, etc....that I have come to realize that recognition and awards, when they are sincere, are a very positive and good thing to perpetuate in the blogosphere.

So I've opened my closet, reached up to the top shelf, stretched all the way on my tip toes, and pulled out the award I created to honor not only the excellence of a blog, but the excellence of the blogger. And today, I bestow the MTMD Blog Award of Excellence on the Genie Princess herself, Mariuca from Wishing on a Falling Star.


I really don't believe there is a blogger out there with a bigger heart than Mariuca. Her blog is a breath of fresh air. Every post is a testament to the joy of living, to friendship, to sharing, to unselfishness. Yes, she does create and generate far too many cute memes for my taste, but that's okay because her memes are fun and help create circles and community in the blogosphere. And they work. It's rare when one of Mariuca's posts fails to generate at least a 100 comments.

What's interesting is that on the blog promotion site EntreCard, they've recently started the practice of the "Comment Rush" to bring a flurry of comments of 100 or more to blogs that usually don't get that kind of response to a post. Mariuca achieves over 100 comments per post effortlessly on her own.
I think one of the most special things about Wishing on a Falling Star is the way Mariuca has built up her readership. There has to be almost a billion links pointing to her blog. And when you take the time to comment on everyone's posts, to stop by and say hello and wish them luck on a Blog Explosion Battle of the Blogs or a Happy 4th of July, or to pass along a meme, and to drop on an EntreCard and all the things Mariuca does on a daily basis to touch base with other bloggers I think it's easy to understand why Mariuca is so popular.

Keeping up with one blog and developing it the way Mariuca has is hard enough. But she maintains two. Her other blog, Mariuca's Perfume Gallery is just as active and her post on Egyptian Gifts has a staggering 178 comments. You just don't get that kind of response if you're not doing something right as a blogger.

I am here to tell you that Mariuca is an outstanding blogger, an inspiration to me and hundreds of others, and I am quite proud to have received some awards from her during her recent awards gala. Sometimes it's not the award that matters, but rather it is who that'd doing the awarding. I can only hope to aspire to some of the blogging standards that Mariuca has set, and I hope that she will appreciate receiving the MTMD Blog Award of Excellence.

Congratulations Mariuca! You really deserve it!

Falling Stars by England Dan & John Ford Coley

Thanks for reading.