Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What kind of blogfool am I?

Originally uploaded by arycogre.
A few things about me:

When something bad happens to me, I often find that sooner or later it can turn out to be a good thing after all.

My boyfriend and I do not dig organized religion, but feel that most religions can be summed up by the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you).

I believe in karma. I don't think that "nice guys finish last." I believe that a person who rises to the top by stepping on others is not a happy person, despite whatever riches and status they may attain. I'm talking here about how they feel, deep in their hearts or their dreams or nightmares, when there is no one around to observe or be impressed.

On the other hand, those who are cheerful and happy and giving usually find that that attitude is contagious and is reciprocated--not by all, perhaps, but enough so that kindness is its own reward.

This may be more of a "girl" thing, but when conflict arises, I try to look back in retrospect to see where I might also have been to blame, and attempt to learn from it. Sometimes things people point out to me in an "unfair" manner may still have some truth to them.

So the question then is:
Is there any truth to the claim that I am a crybaby starving for attention? That I am a buttinsky making trouble for others? That I am a know it all?

Well, yes, perhaps there is.

A while back, I wrote a long-two-part post entitled Publish or Perish. In it, I described my experience with on-line writer's groups. I bitched and whined, but I also, in the end, chastised myself for some of my behavior as well.

When I act like an asshole, I try if I can to acknowlege and admit it, though this may be a painful exercise. And being fascinated with human behavior, I sometimes try to understand what motivates others to act like assholes too.

So at the risk of being repetitive, I need to think about what started this fray and if there is even a grain of truth in what others accused me of.

A certain blogger, D, who also has mental health issues, has a really good blog with lots of thoughtful posts. I started to read her, and began to comment.

Around the same time, I started to blog about the issue of commenting in general.

I went to visit D's blog again, where she had just posted about how grateful she was for her readers, and ackowleged the fact that she sometimes didn't have enough time to comment to other's blogs as much as she'd like, but she appreciated her readers very much.

I posted a comment which stated, in essence, that I really liked her blog, but couldn't help but notice that she and Satan often did a kind of IM style banter back and forth, while other on-topic comments were sometimes "ignored."

I also probably crossed the line by saying thit it seemed to trivialize an otherwise serious post. I think in this case, I was out of line.

I then used my comment as the basis for a post. In addition, D wrote that she was sorry she had let down her readers, thanked me for my comment, and printed out my comment as part of HER post.

In the comments section, she and Satan then commented back and forth a bit. She said that although she adored Satan and his comments--as all his regular readers did--she felt that she had to try to keep comments to serious posts (which included mental health issues etc) more on topic. Satan seemed a bit dissppointed, but I can't get inside his head to know what he really felt about this.

I wrote a comment to her, I guess thanking her (her comments are now shut off), and as an aside wrote: Satan: No comment!

I meant it as a little joke, but Satan's final comment was something to the effect of leaving us to our pristine commenting envronment.

Shortly thereafter, Satan left a "Fuck you" post to his readers, due, he said, to a noticeable drop in comments (this was, of course, said in humor). He turned off comments to that post. Then he went on vacation, and his loyal readers were left to wonder what or who had pissed him off.

Enter my ex-pal Henry, who helpfully wrote in the comments section of one of Satan's older posts that still allowed comments:

'I know it's off the topic of this post, but I'm dismayed that you have shut us all down. Don't let an idiot like Elvira control your commenting; I apologize for leading her over to DC's blog and ruining the good time that was being had by all.

Please don't hold it against the rest of us.'

This pissed me off not only because my ex-blogpal had accused me of rabblerousing, but also because I remembered a time when his almost "worshipful" tone toward Satan was applied to me. No, I wasn't jealous, but I just knew from bitter experience that, with Henry, "worship" could turn to white hot hatred in a hot New York minute.

Awhile back, Henry did a post which started out: "On my favorite blog, Shithouse rat..." So far, so good, right? But when I didn't totally agree with something he posted there, and attempted to make a light-hearted comment gently stating my point of view, Henry went ballistic. Shortly thereafter, our friendship came to an end. He sent two final snarky e-mails, while also blocking my two e-mail addresses and access to comments on his blog.

In any case, here was my indignant retort:

elvira black said...

'Now who woulda thought it? Lil ol me, wielding the awesome power to stifle the voice of the mighty Satan himself!

Thanx for the compliment, but even I do not possess this power.

Am I right or am I right, mighty Prince of Darkness?'

Then a few others joined in and accused me, and eventually the argument moved to my blog when Squid wrote a very nasty comment about how I had "broken" Satan like a favorite toy. Thus commenced the flame fest here.

Although I like to think that I am a kind and gentle soul who does not attack unless attacked, in retrospect, I have to ask myself what part I might have played to instigate this psychodrama.

Although, in my defense, I think that if any of Satan's readers observed that he replied to comments from some people and ignored others, they would be miffed too (he seems to reply to all and sundry, however). I also think my original comment to D's site was a little too...what's the word...self-righteous?

There was D, who loved to banter back and forth with Satan on her blog. That was her business. If I posted and didn't get a response, I didn't have to post comments any more. Moreover, I'm sure that some of Satan's readers also enjoyed the banter between D and Satan on her site.

In any case, although Satan has stated that his "fuck you" had nothing to do with my comment to D, since he was merely going on vacation and I guess liked to have a bit of wicked fun with his readership, it might have been a reasonable assumption to imagine that I caused him to get upset and stop posting, absurd as that may be.

The result was not just a juicy flamefest. Shortly thereafter, D shut her comments off. She said it was not because of anything anyone had said or done. In part, her post read:

"Having comments on sets me up to reciprocate when kind people take the time to respond to my posts. I struggle to reciprocate in my face-to-face life, and I realize I have started to put pressure on myself here, and becuase the blog means so much to me, I have sometimes given energy to people I have never met at the expense of the people I have known for years, who I REALLY owe!"

But I couldn't help but wonder if she had begun to get flamed as well. And now, after this whole battle which had so much to do with commenting, she no longer has her comments turned on at all.

I had felt totally justified in striking back against my accusers, beginning with Henry, because I felt that they had cast the first stone. But in reality, my comment to D's post may have been the first stone, in a way.

Although I like to think that I am mature enough at this point in my life to live and let live, I think I still have some work to do in this area.

Since Henry's original comment enraged me so, I was looking forward to getting all medieval on his ass with a post about him. My next post may indeed be about him--I'm not sure. But if so, I will try to do a more measured account of our friendship and how it went wrong. Although I had a rift with Henry, he was at one time a good friend to me, and there is no doubt that he is very intelligent and funny. Our comments to each others blogs were full of mutual support and appreciation., and we e-mailed each other constantly back and forth, all day long, every day.

Unfortunately, our friendship is no more. I'm looking at this upcoming post as more of a case study of one blogger friendship gone wrong rather than an opportunity to tear a fellow blogger a new asshole. For that, I think, would be bad karma indeed.

But maybe the best karma of all might be to let bygones be bygones and forego my Henry post altogether. If anyone has an opinion on the matter, you know where I live.


At 1:13 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

And no, that's not a picture of the late great Phuck Yu--at least I don't think so.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

Like sands in an hourglass, soo go the blogs of our lives....

At 2:28 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


So, is that a thumbs up, thumbs down, or I don't give a thumb as far as a Henry post?

At 4:12 PM, Blogger LloydChristmas69 said...

You look bonkers in this picture, Elvis. Bonkers.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger surly girl said...

ooh, the incestuous, stifling world of the blog. strikes me that while the blogosphere is touted as a huge thinkspace, it's actually really rather small.

as for karma, i'm a firm's no wonder i can't sleep at night.

carry on.

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thumbs up, best post

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Walker said...

Shit disturber.
That said "GREAT JOB."
The comment section of a post is the soul property of the blogger of that blog.
If they wish to ignore you Elvira well thats their right to be rude. So suck it up.
But sinse they accept comments then you can tell them how rude they are also. So they could suck of their own sour grapes.
For as long as I have been reading your posts ( and I have been reading longer than I 've been commenting)I have found you speak your mind, which is the way its should be and that's what blogging is all about.
Speaking you mind.
If your Ex blog friend has his panties in a bunch because of what you said even if it was in jest then he should go to a place where they don't have that right to speak and shut up.
Keep commenting the way you like, all of us like to read them.

At 3:31 AM, Blogger ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Go for it, I'd love to see the post. :-)

(BTW i have just been in a "mood" this weekend, not ignoring your blog; I'm feeling better no). :-)

At 5:02 AM, Blogger jane said...

Personally, I'd think long & hard about what you'd post about Henry.(or Harry?) I believe in karma too & that's why i'd think twice. what are your intentions for posting it?
if it's to get even, tit for tat, i don't think i'd do it.
if there is something beneficial for the possibility of your friendship being rekindled, then perhaps.
if it's for fun & you want to rekindle the fire, then just be honest with yourself & then do as you want.
whatever you decide though, i'll be back to read more. :)

At 5:42 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Well damn, I was just having a bad hair day (as well as a bad face day). And I always look dreadful in hats.

And I am bonkers, so that's as it should be.

At 5:44 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Surly grrrrl:

That's a great point. And I think that was a thumbs up (wasn't it?)

At 5:46 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks! When I saw "Anonymous" on my e-mail, I braced myself for the worst, but got a nice little surprise instead.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Many thanks for your kind comment. I thought it a little odd that those who derided me for commenting were the very ones who reamed my ass the most with their comments.

As for Henry, at least he spells it out for all to see in his "Netiquette" post, which reads in part:

"This is MY blog; there are many like it, but this one is mine.

I say this in the sense that I control (I think) what goes on here. I welcome your comments, when I want them, and you will know because I sometimes might turn off the comment feature. Those who know me have my email address and can comment privately. Sometimes, I just don’t want to hear what other people have to say.

When the comments are on, I kinda have some semi-rigid “guidelines” about what you say here. Obviously, crap like spam, porno, totally irrelevant obscene ranting, etc., etc. will be deleted immediately. I am the judge here, and what I say goes."

As for me, I favor a less fascist approach.

At 6:08 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks for the thumbs up! Glad you're feeling better too.

At 6:42 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, I have been thinking long and hard about this one.

It's Henry, not Harry, btw--gee, I thought someone might follow the link to his site, but I guess I can't even throw the guy a coupla hits after all this (lol).

On the one hand, I do believe in karma. On the other hand, I don't always favor the "turn the other cheek" philosophy. That seems difficult, if not impossible--not to mention boring (lol).

To make an admittedly absurd analogy, good people who hate Bush and speak up about him are not, in my opinion, incurring bad karma.

I don't think my motive would be tit for tat. I also don't see any way to reconcile with Henry--he has cast me out of his life, and that's that.

However, I am endlessly fascinated with the human/social condition. I like to deconstruct people, relationships, culture, politics, what-have-you--and, what's more, blog about it.

Henry had a big impact on my blog when he commented here, and apparently he still does, since his comment to another blog helped instigate quite a hubbub here. So although I don't think he visits any more, his presence is still felt to this day.

I would have liked to try and reconcile or resolve things via private e-mail, but as i said, he cut me off from that avenue, which is part and parcel of his modus operandi. However, that did not stop him from making digs about me via other blogs, which I thought was sneaky, unfair, and underhanded.

Henry is a very opinionated fellow, and loves to speak his mind. But he isn't quite as good at taking criticism in turn. In fact, he will stifle it altogether if he can, or attack and then run away.

So I don't think that writing about him is necessarily an "evil" thing, since I intended to try to use my musings to clarify something to myself about friendship, blogging, and how blogger relationships can blossom and sometimes die. Or something like that.

In any case, as it turns out, Henry's intention--to malign me--actually turned around and bit him on the ass, and gave me some great blogging material. Thus karma at work.

Well, I'd better cut short this comment, or I'll wind up doing my whole Henry post right here (lol)!

At 9:41 AM, Blogger fugusashi said...

I would be interested in the Henry saga. I think these situations occur all to frequently among bloggers. Without the benefit of body language and facial expression, the written word is often misinterpreted, which sometimes leads to arguments.

And sometimes, other things happen. It's hard to communicate via email and blogging.

It's sad that you and Henry were once friends, and now you're not. This has happened to me, too, and it's very upsetting. If it helps to write about it, I think you should.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

I'll comment to new comments later. However, just wanted to say that Satan really bitch-slapped me good over at his site. Shit on a shingle, I'm smarting from that one.

I suppose I deserve it for saying that his abandonment of his readers was (in my opinion) manipulative, cruel, and passive agressive. As usual, I was outta line there-it was just (inadvertently) cruel to me! Plus I know he has to save face chez Satan.

So no more comments about the prince of the underworld from me.

On to the next adventure--the saga of henry and Elvirus (I think). What the hell, it's something to do, right? Plus, Henry won't talk back--he's boycotted me long ago (lol).

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a long time lurker on your blog, on some of the other blogs involved in this fray, and a general blog-lurker for many years, I occasionally interject my opinion.

Your blog has taken on a fairly negative tone. You used to write some really funny stuff. I really enjoyed reading stuff about the scary shrinks, troubles with your crackhead neighbor, the freaky people at the AA meetings, and the one about your boyfriend's mom's "special" meatloaf. That was so good!

It seems as if most of the bloggers involved in your recent posts have moved on from all of this. So, Henry can dish it out but he can't take it. So, Squid comments and then deletes them. So, Phuk Yu is just an all around loser. So, Satan gives everyone a hassle. So, Diana doesn't want comments anymore. So what? So what, about all of this? At one point, you even said that Henry isn't worth the attention. It just seems your energies are being misspent.

I wouldn't mind seeing more of the "old" Elvira, and alot less of the "new" you.

Or, I should say thumbs down to the Henry post, and bring back some of the good stuff you were writing before all this nonsense began.

PS: We haven't been treated with some of your boyfriend's art in a while either.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger fugusashi said...

I've been rethinking my earlier comment. Maybe Anonymous is right. Maybe it's time to move on.

At 4:45 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you so very much for your comment. I really appreciate the fact that you've been following my blog and have enjoyed the "old" Elvira and BG's artwork.

I also think you are absolutely right.

I was away from the computer since yesterday morning (I had some real world stuff to attend to) and as i thought about the Henry post, I did start to feel increasingly uneasy. I started to realize that writing about my ex-friend would likely be a pointless and tedious exercise in futility.

Hopefully, however, I've learned something from all this. From now on, I will try to think more carefully about what i post to other blogs. I have one approach to comments and responses; others have theirs. So be it.

So again, Anonymous, whoever you are, many thanks.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


thank you also for your comments. I was trying, I guess, to justify a Henry post, but I think I knew in my heart it was a stupid idea.

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

Hi E!!!!--great post--very humbling isnt it questioning our own behvaiors and not just those of others?! lol.
as far as the karma aspects of posting about other people.. I think it does depend on the spirit in which a post like that is written, I agree with Jane--its all about intention--but Id go even further to say it wouldnt be of help, even if it were for the purpose of re-kindling something (is he still reading anyway?)

one more brief point before I have to skeedaddle--I dont think people who hate Bush and talk about it is what creates bad karma --its the hating him that does--
just a thought--

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Webmiztris said...

holy shit! better than a soap opera!

At 8:32 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you, my friend. Yes, what possible good could come out of such a post? It would just make me feel like even more of a blogfool than I already do.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks--however, this soap opera has been cancelled--not due to poor ratings, but due to poor taste.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger !ce said...

There was a time when I believed that I was the earthly embodiment of Satan. I later realized that Satan is nonexistent, thus wiping out my theory. Now, I think of myself as Cyndi Lauper. I think it works for me.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Dude, where ya been? This post/topic is so, like, last week! (lol) Just kidding around.

Cyndi Lauper? I think she's still alive, but as far as I know, her career died long ago. But anyway, thanks for the comment--good to hear from you again at long last.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger !ce said...

She was big in 1983 when she did She's So Unusual, which provided her with such timeless hits as "money changes everything," "girls just want to have fun," "time after time," "she bop," and "all through the night." In 1986, she released True Colors, and did well with the title track, "change of heart," and "what's going on." In 1989, she hit a wall. She had her last top ten hit with "i drove all night" from her A Night To Remember album. It was the first album not to go platinum, but did quickly go gold because of the popularity of the first single (a similar thing happened the year before with Pat Benatar's Wide Awake In Dreamland album). Anyway, in 1993 she did her most lyrically heavy album with Hat Full of Stars. In 1995, she released the collection Twelve Deadly Cyns... And Then Some, which included "hey now (girls just want to have fun). In 1996-7, she released Sisters of Avalon, and had a UK hit with "you don't know." In 1998, she released Merry Christmas... Have A Nice Life. In 2001, she independently released the EP Shine. In 2003, back on Sony, she released a covers album called At Last. I think that her version of "stay" (Maurice and the Zodiacs) might have gotten some adult contemporary play.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Well, ok--thanks for the rundown. Good to know CL is still alive and kicking.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger !ce said...

You should check out her DVD Cyndi Lauper Live At Last.


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