Saturday, November 30, 2013

Why You May Not Have Heard From Me

Because I'm a dope, basically (but you knew that already, so let me give you some specifics.)

You're all good blog friends and I don't want you to think I'm just a selfish prick who asks you to comment on my pieces in the paper and then ignores you. We picked up a 'virus' of sorts on our computer; nothing that can transmit to you, I guarantee that, so don't worry. It was some piece of marketing garbage that came attached to freeware I downloaded without fully reading the agreement (yes - D'Oh!).

It infiltrated us and started showing us a million different pop-up advertisements everywhere we surfed. It truly made surfing the web a pain in the ass. So, knowing a bit about such things (but not everything) I ran a number of malware removing apps. The good news: our computer is clear of pop-up ads and other vicious marketing. The bad news? For some reason, when I make comments at some blogs, they disappear into the ether. I'm sure whatever programs I ran obliterated something needed to ID me on some commenting platforms.

(Amazingly, I find that the inability to comment extends to my very own blog. I tried to write a comment on one of my own posts. I clicked to publish and it totally vanished. It did not publish, it did not show up in my "awaiting moderation" or "spam" folders, it just completely went missing without a trace. I am perturbed. No, that's not the right word. I am batshit crazily pissed off. Yeah, that's about right.)

Anyway, I have been trying to comment here and there on some of your blogs, as I have been visiting you and reading you, but I've decided to give it up for now because it is annoying the everloving hell out of me to type the same comment two or three times and see it just vanish when I hit 'post'. So, if you don't hear from me, it's not that I don't love you. I'm reading; I just physically can't comment.

(I don't understand exactly what's going on - obviously - but my comments do appear some places. I think it depends on the type of commenting platform your particular blog provides.)

I hope I'll be able to comment everywhere again, but since I don't know what's happening, it ain't likely. I'm going to try a few pieces of advice given me, but who knows? So the point is that I'm asking your forgiveness for my seeming lack of presence. I'm reading, but I am forced into silence. For a guy who likes to wise off as much as I do, this is not pleasant.

Soon, with more silent lurking at your place.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Just Call Me Solly

The Boston Herald has published another of my pieces, God bless them. Please go to their website, read, and comment (if you have nothing better to do with your next five minutes, like clean your toenails or something.)

As always, THANK YOU!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Thank You

I have been blessed with wonderful readers. I mean YOU. And I just wanted to take a moment to say "Thank You!"

This has been a year of great transition for me. After being let go at my job of 20+ years, where I was a voice talent/producer/editor/musical director/all-around schmuck, I've been scrambling to piece together freelance opportunities in writing and related fields. This change in career paths was chosen because I previously had some small success in selling my writing on a casual basis. Also, my confidence in my abilities in the aforementioned fields was fairly much shot to hell when I was let go. With no disrespect aimed at my former associates, I considered myself the best on-staff at a couple of the duties I performed. And I was the longest-tenured employee in the place. To be the only person jettisoned when the company changed hands was a shock and a severe blow to my ego. And ego is essential to an artist, which is what I considered myself (and my colleagues) in all regards.

So, I set out to establish myself as a writer. A small bit of good fortune was immediately obvious. The story of my firing had a wonderful twist to it. When I called to initiate my unemployment claim, I was greeted by recorded messages that I had personally produced for my former employer. Although it was truly disheartening, and brought me as near to a mental breakdown as anything in the whole affair, it made for a funny tale in the abstract. I wrote it up and was able to sell it to the good folks at the Boston Herald (for whom I am also extremely thankful, as they've bought about 50% of the pieces I've sold thus far.)

I was blessed to have an ongoing friendship with a fellow blogger who is also an editor. I'll leave his name out of this, as I believe that's what he would desire, but his contribution to whatever success I've thus far achieved has been substantial. Without his help in setting me up in a writing-related field for additional income, my earnings this year would be roughly half of what they are.

I've had my writing appear, for pay, in a few different places aside from the Herald. Funny Times, Discover magazine, and the Boston Globe, have been kind enough to print my stuff on their pages. Discover thrilled me no end by featuring a couple of my pieces on their cover.

Anyway, the point of this was to let YOU know how much I appreciate you. You were here for me long before any of this went down. Your kind words and encouragement gave me the idea that I might actually have the talent to pull off this career change. While I'm hardly getting rich, I am bringing in enough to keep at least the sickly and aged wolves from the door. With your continued support, and a bit more blessing, perhaps I'll be able to kick the healthy ones off the doorstep in the coming years.

I wish you a wonderful and warm Thanksgiving. When we sit down to our meal this Thursday, I'll remain mindful of the blessings you, and others mentioned here, have provided me. In so many different ways, you have contributed to my feast. May God's blessings be abundantly obvious to you and yours.

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. I'm sure she knows this, but making it a public declaration is certainly worthwhile. MY WIFE has been a rock throughout. She has endlessly encouraged me, rooted for me, shared both my triumphs and my defeats, and otherwise been the perfect partner. Without her... well, I could fill in this blank, but I'm only a writer. Words are not enough.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Not For Sale

My latest piece in the Boston Herald talks about the hideousness of shopping on Thanksgiving. I know most of you feel the same way I do about it, so please hop on over to the website and feel free to add your comments.

Go HERE, please.

(On just about every website that asks folks to NOT shop on Thanksgiving, someone - maybe a corporate hack; maybe a sincere dissenter - expresses the opinion that there should be shopping on Thanksgiving. I really want to make sure the majority opinion - ours - is well-represented against that sort of person. So please, if you have the time and want your opinion heard, leave your comment at the Herald website. You may need to log in to do so, and I know that can be a drag, but we really need to hammer home how much we believe in this.)

As always, thank you for reading my stuff. And thank you for taking the time to leave a response at the Herald website. It means the world to me, and I am in your debt should you do so.


P.S. Don't forget - Logging in at the website also enables you to vote up or down on other comments!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Before I give you a few TCF-related links to explore, I want to acknowledge the debt I owe you.

I've had more than my fair share of love showered on me this past week. Your comments at the Boston Herald website, concerning my most recent piece, were heartfelt and lovely. They accepted another one of my pieces just yesterday, and I think your nice responses may have played a part in that. Thank you.

(The piece they accepted, by the way, is about the hideousness of shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Not only does it mean another payday for me, but it also allows me to vent my spleen and avoid buying anti-depressants. As repayment, you are all invited to my place for Thanksgiving. Bring pie.)

(MY WIFE will read this and say, "Oh my God! What have you done? We don't have room for that many people! Arrrggghhh! Arrrggghhh!"

Oddly enough, MY WIFE sounds like Charlie Brown when she's stressed. I don't really expect you to show up on my doorstep with pie, but, if you do, also bring wine and valium for MY WIFE.)

OK, here's where I send you other places. These are the most recent Thanksgiving Comes First postings of which I've become aware.

Joe Hagy, a.k.a. The Cranky Old Man, is an excellent writer, so THIS is an excellent piece!

Barbara Shallue is a wonderful person so it follows that her piece on this subject is wonderful, also.

Respect The Turkey! That's what Eternal Lizdom says.

My buddy, The Old AF Sarge (nicest retired Air Force Sergeant in Rhode Island, as it says on the sidebar), contributed at Chant du Depart.

My buddy, Buck (nicest retired Air Force Sergeant in New Mexico, as it says on the sidebar, and where are the other 48 nicest retired Air Force Sergeants and why aren't they reading me?), at Exile In Portales is among the many who have taken The Pledge...

... and prominently displayed it either on a blog or as a Facebook profile picture (which means it displays EVERY TIME that person posts and/or comments, so you should do it, too.) I know damn well I'm going to miss some folks here - and if you let me know I missed you, I'll edit this to include you - but these wonderful folks have all done something similar - Daryl Singer Edelstein, Joe White, Skip O'Brien, Rebecca Harris, Angie Ledbetter, Karen Wacaser Lyons, Judi Fitzpatrick, Jeni Hill Ertmer, Twistlers Tara, Kevin Fitzpatrick,
Joe Hagy, Valerie Smith-Sheehy, Janet Comperry McReynolds, Dennis Nappi II (who just received the proofs back for his book - Congrats!), Luann Purin Sweeney, and Erin Stamos.

You should also go to Say No To Shopping On Thanksgiving (which is the place where I borrowed the graphic for The Pledge) and also Help End Corporate Greed: Don't Shop On Thanksgiving and also Boycott Shopping On Thanksgiving Day. Also, our Facebook site (set up last year with a huge assist from Matt Conlon) THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST.

Where else can I send you? Emanuella Grinberg, of CNN, interviewed me last week. I don't know when the interview, or story in which the interview is mentioned, will be coming out, but you could check to see if it's there somewhere.

As always, it pays to be at the front of the line. Here, once again, are the folks who posted early (and who were mentioned about ten days ago, too, so that's the reward. I'm sure it makes them happy in their pants to be mentioned here twice. Woo. Hoo.

Messy Mimi gets the spot of honor for being the first to post. She explains why everyone will be happier if they wait for Christmas, and shows valid reasons why giving is much better than receiving.

Next up, It's A Crazy World (I'll say!) with why Thanksgiving is great (and some general raspberries for a few retailers.)

Tilting At Windmills (fine name for a blog, but I hope this doesn't turn out to be an example of that activity) joins in again. Nice to have you back!

Jackie, at Teacher's Pet, is a longtime friend, one of the nicest people on the internet, and she mentions me in her posts far too often (but I love it, of course.)

A couple of news stories at Myrtle Beach Online and The Charlotte Observer mention Thanksgiving Comes First on Facebook. See what can happen? Change your profile picture on Facebook, folks!

That wonderfully demented bastard, IT, has posted something that mentions the cause.

I think that about covers it. Going to all of those links should keep you busy for a day or two. I'll be back to point you to the Herald piece when it publishes. Until then, once again, THANK YOU.


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Veteran Awaits His Due

I have an op-ed in the Boston Herald today. It concerns my step-father, Bill MacDonald, a World War II vet, and a medal he is due but has yet to receive from the government.

As always, I ask you this favor: If you like the piece, please leave a comment on the newspaper's website. I know it can be a slight hassle to do so, but it means a lot to me if you do. I think it may mean a lot to My Mom and Bill, also. And if I can return the favor someday, all you need do is ask.



Tuesday, November 05, 2013

For Purposes Of This Piece, We're Going To Pretend It's December

Gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill. Penicillin was discovered on moldy bread. Lana Turner was supposedly discovered while sitting on a stool in a drug store.

I will not be found in a mill, on moldy bread, or sitting on a stool at a drug store counter. Instead, you can discover me (appropriately enough) in Discover magazine. Not only will you find me IN the magazine, I am also ON the magazine. For the second month in a row, I am on the cover.

Why, look! There I am now!

No, I'm not the rather fit Asian woman. I am Santa Claus. That is, my story is the one about Santa Claus.

(This represents a slight logistical problem, inasmuch as I am a strict proponent of letting one holiday play out entirely before letting another one appear. But, look again at the photo of the issue in which my Santa story is featured. See what issue it is? That's right - December. And I thank you.)

You should rush out and buy a copy now because you love me.

(Some of you love me because I make you laugh. I admit that my previous appearance in the mag was a bit dry - it's a science magazine, after all, and there are just so many yucks in stuff like quantum physics - but this piece has a higher humor quotient. This is because my good friend, Saint Nick, has a wonderful sense of humor. Also, since what I know about science can fit in a thimble and have room left over for a congressman's sense of propriety, I made stuff up.)

(Don't tell my editor. She thinks the parts about flying reindeer were thoroughly researched.)

So, to reiterate: The December issue of Discover, which is on newsstands now, has me in it; also, Santa Claus. You should buy it. If you don't, you may end up on the naughty list.

Soon, with more better stuff.