Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am, of course, wishing YOU a Happy Thanksgiving. On top of that, though, it's a nice one for me, professionally. My piece about Thanksgiving shopping was published in the Los Angeles Times, thus making me (when taking into account my semi-regular appearances in the Boston Herald) a coast-to-coast crank.

As usual, anything nice you have to say, at the website or - may you get an extra drumstick! - via a letter to the editor, is appreciated. If you disagree with what I have to say and you keep your pumpkin piehole closed about it, that would also be a nice thing :-)

[Boycott Black Thursday is a great site for best up-to-the-minute news on the issue]

So, once again, a Very Happy Thanksgiving to you. I'm always thankful to have you as a reader.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Comes First

Since I've often been all about Thanksgiving, some of you were probably wondering when I was going to write a post about it this year. If you were wondering, I thank you for thinking about it and here it is.

I made a conscious effort to NOT post about Thanksgiving. I wanted to see what was happening without being clouded by thoughts of what was happening as a result of anything here.

I still kept plugging away on Facebook (on my own personal page and at THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST, a page I manage there - ) and I get the feeling that there may be a tipping point being reached, one way or the other. There are boatloads of people who are fed up with the commercialization of Christmas and the incursion of store openings on Thanksgiving itself. I mean, some folks are seriously angry now. That's a good thing. And there are lots of stores specifically advertising that they will be closed on Thanksgiving, another good sign. On the other hand, stores are opening earlier than last year (when they opened earlier than the year before that) so...

I have the feeling we're either going to see Thanksgiving completely obliterated as a holiday in the next few years or else we'll see it become a thing that people are so pissed about that there might even be legislation passed to save it. I'm not thrilled with either of those options - I'd prefer that it work solely via the public opinion being so strong that retailers back off and pay the respect they ought to, to both the holiday and their employees - but, if I have to choose one or the other, I'll gladly see the legislation, thanks.

The other thing I did was try to have an op-ed published, which I was successful in doing a couple of times previously. I'm happy to report I was able to sell one this year, too. It hasn't appeared yet, but it will publish either on Thanksgiving day itself or the Tuesday before, in the Los Angeles Times (which, as much as I love my semi-permanent home at The Boston Herald, is a much larger audience and I'm stoked. We're talking about the 4th largest newspaper in the country, with a total average circulation of well over 500,000 in both print and digital editions.)

So there you go. That's what I've been up to insofar as Thanksgiving is concerned. I'll be back to point you at the L.A. Times when I'm published (unless it's on Thanksgiving itself, ironically, because I don't work on Thanksgiving and that includes blogging or computing of any sort. Maybe if I catch it before I go to bed and consider the three hour time difference...)

Meanwhile, keep up the good fight. If you're on Facebook, change your profile picture to the orange button shown above. Doing so makes every post or comment a statement of how you feel. If you blog about Thanksgiving, please let me know; I love to read your stuff. Some of the best things I've ever read on the internet were blog posts about what Thanksgiving means to people.

If I don't talk to you before the day itself, I wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. Eat much, show love, and don't forget to say "Thank you!"

Oh, one last thing: Here's the latest list of "naughty and nice" stores. If you care about this thing, do NOT shop at the naughty stores. And I don't mean just now. I mean from now on, unless they change their ways. That is THE most effective thing you can do to make the situation better.

Soon, with more better stuffing.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

What A Gyp!

I express my sentiments, concerning the most recent elections, at The Boston Herald. As you might gather from the title here, my sentiments there are not entirely cheerful.

Here! Go There!

If you would express your sentiments (that is, if you like me and want to see me smile) I'd appreciate it.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Jim Sullivan, Writer

A few weeks back, I had a story published in the Boston Herald concerning the closure of Suffolk Downs, the East Boston racetrack that was a fixture of the sporting scene around these parts.

Here's a link to the newspaper article (although I believe the piece has been archived, so you may not be able to see the whole thing. If you missed it, and want to read it, drop me a line and I'll e-mail you a copy.)

A television reporter in Australia, Lisa Millar of ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), contacted me. She liked the story and wanted to include me in a feature she was doing on the downturn in the fortunes of thoroughbred racing in America. I was to meet her at Suffolk on closing day. I did meet her and they filmed me answering a couple of questions. The piece has finally run on Australian TV. I thought you might like to see it, so here it is.

(I show up at around the one-minute mark. They edited me well; I come off as mostly sane. I think my favorite part is the identifier given under my face. It says, "Jim Sullivan, Writer", which more-or-less gives credence to the fact that I am one of those. That was a thrill - and certainly preferable to "Jim Sullivan, Lifelong Lunatic Gambler".)

Hmmmmm... It seems I don't rightly know how to embed their video here. It may not be possible, actually. I suppose there are all sorts of copyright laws involved. Anyway, here's a link to it. Go there and see my face combined with lovely Australian voice-overs!

Jim at the races via Australian TV!

Soon, with less bettor stuff.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Blowing Up Your Bedroom

I'm proud to tell you I have a rather big piece in the December issue of Discover magazine. They even have a photo of me on the cover!

Well, OK, that's not really a photo of me; it's a graphic representation of what I look like underneath my skin after 43 years of smoking. But I was telling you the truth about having a big piece in this issue and I am on the cover (or, at least, my writing is touted there. It's the "Toys That Changed Science" feature, down there at the bottom left, and it's a semi-serious semi-humorous look at old chemistry sets and such.)

(As is usually the case, I would have made it more humorous than serious. I lost three or four good jokes in the editing process. This is a science magazine, though, and the editors keep me reigned in because that keeps the general public from finding out what a dope I am, which would probably be bad for business. For instance, I think I tried to slip in variations of the title of this piece - Blowing Up Your Bedroom - five or six times, in various ways, because that's mostly what I thought of whenever I played with a chemistry set. I think every one of those "blowing up" references was excised. This is probably a good thing, since we don't want to encourage any child to think as dangerously and haphazardly as I did, but I still wish one of them got through because I'm a dope.)

So, I would suggest you go and buy a copy now. As a matter of fact, not only would I suggest it, I am suggesting it. Hey, look! Here's a link to their website! Discover Magazine!

(Since it's not past Thanksgiving yet, I can't tell you that a subscription would make a dandy gift for the young scientist in your life. I think it probably would, though.)

Below is the sort of thing I wouldn't be able to say on their pages because it's entirely illiterate. Discover is entirely non-illiterate (which is bad news for me but great news for you if you buy it, which I'm sure you will.)

Soon, with more better stuff.