Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Newsletter -- Mr. Food Chain

Friends, do you ever get that feeling you're being eaten alive? I've had that feeling the last few days, especially this morning when I got up. First, there's always the damned bugs of summer. Do I like bugs? I guess I do, in that sense that I like all of creation, believing it fits together in some kind of vast wise oneness. I just don't like them practically, as in feasting on my flesh and blood. Which I know is shortsighted and selfish, because I also feast on the flesh and blood of creatures. But I spray a little OFF on myself and I don't have too much trouble.

The other thing that's eating me alive -- and I suppose I'm generating some by mentioning it -- is karma. Everyone knows karma by one name or another as that thing that supposedly gets you in the end. You do something wrong and it eventually recoils on you and you're paid back in kind. The thing to realize about karma is that it's in continual action. Meaning, you learn from it or you don't. And if you don't, it's in continual action even more. If you learn from it and manage to keep your behavior somewhat in check, there's less of it to suffer. I've had so much Facebook karma this past week -- big news week -- I can barely mention it or I'll generate more. It does eat you alive, from the core outward.

Then there's one of my male staff-members, working with me on my upcoming newsletter, who will eat you alive if you let him, the disgusting Cannibal. I should've shipped him back to the work release farm (he's a prisoner) as soon as I heard of him. Because he creeps me out and I'm very afraid of him. It's tough to sleep knowing he's around. I've had his mouth on my arm a few times -- always playfully, of course -- but he has to be shaken off because he never seems to know when enough's enough.

Still, I need to give him some kind of tribute. It's fair to do -- I did the others. And there has to be something genuinely good I can say about him. Which, one obvious thing would be, like I said above about the bugs, everything's gotta eat. Would I want Cannibal to shrivel up and die for lack of nutrition? It wouldn't bother me all that much. Yes, I allow mosquitoes to live, for the most part; I don't begrudge them that much, since there's nothing I can do about it anyway. I kill one here, one there.

But Cannibal's one normal sized guy -- one filthy, slobbering, rotten guy -- and if he dropped off from lack of nutrition, it'd be a positive. Remember, this guy literally bit my little finger off! And while it's been stitched back on and is more or less functional, I'm very worried about my blood flow. Stuff like this was meant to stay permanently attached, in my not so humble opinion. But I'm not a guy to lash out. But if the other prisoners -- Danny, Spud, and Tipsy -- lash out at him, that's their business, and more normal to their proclivities. I wouldn't mind.

My Tribute -- My staff member Cannibal is one of the truest lovers of humanity I know. Most of us appreciate man's output: art, history, relationships. But only the cannibal goes for the whole package. Which can be a beautiful thing, just so the ones he goes for aren't worth crap. Various enemies, criminals, high school bullies. But most of us prefer to continue our lives much more than being eaten.

Cannibal's nickname of Mr. Food Chain is quite a tribute in itself. To have that continual hunger and yet to never be hungering, because there's always someone to gnaw on, must be very satisfying. He has the freedom and power and drive of a shark, particularly when his prey is sleeping. You're dreaming you have pain somewhere, you figure it's karma you're working off, until the pain becomes a little too real, too immediate, then up you spring, only to see Mr. Food Chain in action. Terrible. It's tough enough to fall back to sleep under normal conditions...

I have one consolation. Cannibal knows, because I told him, he can't mess up too many times, or it's back to the work release farm for him! So as long as I hold to that threat, I believe I will be OK. What's that??? Thought I heard him behind me, false alarm.

POLICE -- When the police showed up, I had to tell them, "I'm not aiding and abetting. He's eating and a'biting!"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Newsletter -- Spud's Hold on Dames

Everything's going so smoothly for me and the editorial team for my newsletter, I'm amazed how blessed I am. So I've put some of the good feelings into tributes to Dashing Danny Whfrf and Stan "Tipsy" White. I wasn't planning to do the others, but since it came up in today's discussions, I know I really should, at least to stifle jealousy.

Today, Spud Tuber. About the best thing I can think about Spud, once I get past his potato-like exterior, is his reputation with dames. According to him, when he's not in prison there's constantly dames at his side, day and night. What they're doing all day, I don't know, but he's hinted enough about the night that it all sounds pretty exciting.

I look at him and, to me, there's a disconnect; I don't see him as that great. Which is obviously the difference between me and dames. But one thing I do like is the chance to study his type. I've reached one thrilling conclusion so far -- and I may be writing a book about it -- is this, Dames can't help liking him.

Here's a few hints as to how my book might go: Speaking in evolutionary terms, a guy like Spud is valuable, acting as a kind of pressure valve for the group. In nature, men want to breed for the preservation of the group, and that's it. But there's always going to be dames, and they're looking for the guy who throws caution (and prudence) to the wind and is willing to mate with anyone. So a guy like Spud keeps the dames happy and helps preserve the men's stamina for actual breeding. Spud says he has no sons.

Spud's also represents the stud in our group, then, although I have not relaxed the restriction on any of my four prison-workers to not lay a hand on our female staff member, The Lady. And at this point, evolution or no evolution, I can't see myself relaxing the restriction, not so much because of Spud, but because the other three wouldn't understand the distinction. They've been in lock-up, they'd be all over her. I wouldn't like that.

So, let's give a few minutes for a tribute to Spud Tuber. To me, yes, he has rugged looks, a little good, a little bad, depending on how the light hits him. In the shadows his crags have too many dips. In the light, the sheen keeps the eye traveling on the surface and he's not so bad. But looks aren't everything.

What about personality? I've always thought half of sex appeal has to do with your personality. In this area, I think Spud must have a different persona when he's out with dames and hoping to score. Because to me his personality tends to be on the brusque side. It's easy to rub him the wrong way, then the temptation is to throw his weight around in a bullish way. He has intelligence, though, because he always knows his work release privileges are on the line.

What's he like with the dames? I have a limited view but I see a lot of confidence. Spud is a man who's seen his share of love, lust, and the various combinations. It's easy to imagine him in a fancy nightclub, a dame on each arm, approaching the bar, calling out the bartender by name, and treating everyone. Whereas, you put me there, I'd be shy and be asking the bartender nicely for a drink, lest he get too surly for having been overworked.

What's Spud like with the dames when they're alone? I can only speculate, since this is where men generally like to be alone with their thoughts. They don't tell. Still, what's a Super Brain for if I can't guess? Spud's obviously in the relationship for himself, detached from the dame's feelings. The dames think anyone that detached has to be rich. So they're throwing themselves at him. Only to find out later, when the police show up later putting the pinch on him, that he's just a potato with a record, and out past the work release curfew to boot.

For those fleeting moments, however, Spud's the dame's dream, the dame's all. The dame is fluttering her eyelids, flexing her wiles, putting on a show, hoping to haul in, far from any other dame's hungered grasp, a male specimen to match the gods. Spud lets them dream, until that magic moment 45 minutes in when he devotes 15 minutes to blowing his top.

"Oh, baby," he coos, in that magic potato guttural tone he takes, "You got it goin' on," before emitting a satisfied, extended breath of relief. "That oughta hold me for a day."

Do I admire Spud Tuber, the Potato Man? You better believe I do. I can't see any reason now or into the distant future why he and I wouldn't be on the best of terms. I'll have him on my team as long as he'll stay. And doesn't touch The Lady.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Newsletter -- The Peace of a Thief

Yesterday, I lifted up one of my staff members, Stan "Tipsy" White, as a great example of the glories of drunkenness, and got a lot of nice comments, so I thought today I'd highlight another member I sincerely admire, Dashing Danny Whfrf.

Danny's a traditionalist, and I like that, a traditional thief. He's not into new crime like computer hacking or carjackings, which of course have their place; he's into what has to be one of the oldest criminal activities of all, thievery, stealing. It's so old there's even a 10 Commandment about it! Fortunately Danny doesn't live in some backward country where they cut your hands off for stealing, because he'd be out of work then, needing as he does his hands for holding the gun and carrying stuff off.

Of course in these days where every field seems to have succumbed to modernism -- and I'd complain, "Modernism for modernism's sake!" -- it's rare to find traditional craftsmen, working not only with their hands but with their wits. When you work with your wits, you need wisdom, and that's what Danny uses to scope out a situation, see where the goods are, where the exits are, and what it's going to take to get him in and out in one piece. Part of one's wits also entail foreseeing the unforeseeable, if we can put it like that, having the foresight and intelligence to roll with the flow. Danny's not afraid to change his plans on the fly, such as his route of escape. He says he's dove out of more second story windows than he cares to remember!

Damn the luck, though! He's currently doing a little prison stretch that's sidelined him, but he's proven himself an honorable and worthy fellow in demonstrating "good behavior." Plus, he went beyond the call of duty when he ratted on a couple rat-finks in the clink, who were planning to knife a guy simply for not sharing a Playboy magazine his sister smuggled in to him. And that put Danny in good with a few higher-ups, who then put him on the fast track to eventual release by sending him to the local work release farm. From there he was let him out to help me as a staff member on my upcoming newsletter.

I've been happy with Danny's work ethic. He's very bright-eyed, looking at all the angles. Which is even more amazing given the late hours he keeps after a full day. I bet he's explored every part of our town. I sometimes wonder what discoveries he's making -- our town's a fascinating and hospitable place, and I believe he's found that to be true. But he's not one to show a lot of emotion; he's reluctant to get sentimental about civic pride because he might break down and cry. And once you've been in the pen, that's a big no no.

Yes, the thought's crossed my mind that he might be pulling a few jobs around town. He always goes armed, which he sees as a fundamental constitutional right, and it could be he sees things he likes that he honestly can't afford, since the state's only giving him 12 cents an hour. That's not much money for a full day's work! I've chipped in a few cents to make it 15 cents, but even that's only marginally better. You could literally blow through a whole day's pay on an unfrosted cupcake. Fortunate for him, we have little joint downtown that'll sell you a single cigarette or he'd be completely lost.

If he is pulling jobs, more power to him, right? If he's at peace with it, who am I to raise a ruckus and mess up his thinking? He tells me his mama never raised no fool, and I confess I'd say the same thing about my mama. I'm a pretty good judge of character, and Danny's got it. And even if he didn't have it he'd know where to find it, which is reassuring.

Messing up his thinking would be the same as messing with his peace of mind. And that's something I'd never do. Danny's got what a lot of us haven't got, the native sense that God gives thieves, who believe, "The whole world belongs to me. What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." There's such a beautiful innocence in that, like a baby reaching out and picking a piece of food off his daddy's plate. Daddy just sits there and laughs, "You're such a good boy!" The amazing thing, then, is to carry that attitude through your whole life; what's out there is like the air, it's your environment, your enchilada, and completely free for the taking. It don't get no easier than that!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Newsletter -- The Complete Beautiful Miasma of Drunkenness

I am personally not one to get good and royally drunk. As must be clear at least to long-time readers, I'm a guy of strict discipline and resolve. So going overboard on anything -- except maybe doing good -- simply doesn't happen. And I would never encourage anyone else to get inebriated, wasted, or faced. If they came to me and asked, "Should I?" I'd say "No."

Then we have a guy like Stanley "Tipsy" White, staff reporter for my newsletter (soon to be published). He didn't ask, he just showed up with drunk as his default. Drinking's simply his thing, his basic modus operandi in life, the way he copes, gets along, and lives. Yes, of course, when he's at the work release farm (he's a prisoner) he probably doesn't have perfect access to the hard stuff. But he's obviously getting it somehow; when he showed up at my place he was already drunk, and he's been working on something ever since.

I like watching Tipsy, maybe because we're such polar opposites. A few sips now and then of something, going along with spirituality, that's my thing. I've been giving a pretty good effort lately at yoga (not the stretchy kind), working on self-control, transmuting the various energies of the body. The yogis say alcohol isn't good for that, although I have a slightly different feeling on the subject, and so the sips are allowed. But there's no way I'm going to get drunk. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy and even appreciate the fun habits and accompanying states of mind that Tipsy shows. I consider him a close personal friend at this point, and I can't think of anything that would drive us apart.

You know how most lushes have a pattern in life? They're struggling to get their lives on track, they swear off the booze, then two hours later they show up drunk? That's not Tipsy. Left to his own choices, anything apart from solitary confinement and lack of access, he's going to be boozed up, lubed real good. And spaced out, talking with a slurred voice, the whole bit. It's a lot of fun to imitate him, stumbling over your words, like the old comedian -- one of the funniest guys of his time -- Foster Brooks. I watched Foster on YouTube lately, and had the same feeling for him as in the '70s: I like the drunk voice a lot but still don't like how he bottoms it out so often. Just me.

Tipsy's not extremely verbose. He's mostly in a more enviable condition, the complete, total, beautiful miasma of drunkenness. He's just there, more or less worthless for any and all practical pursuits, but happy and apparently even centered in himself. That's the good drunk, unlike the bad drunk, which involves staggering and personal endangerment. Tipsy usually looks very contented, sitting in a chair, the bottle dangling from one hand near the floor, with his head pushed back, face toward the ceiling, in his own world, his own personal haze.

It'd be interesting to read his mind and know what's going on in his thoughts. Is he tapping into realms up there that would yield new and more wonderful answers? Is he working through visions and dreams that might make a difference to humanity in, perhaps, coming up with an answer to man's troubles? Or is it just what it looks like, a guy so bombed that if even the slightest thinking's taking place, there's still not two coherent thoughts joined together, nothing of cognitive syntax of any form that would make sense in terms of our current prevalent consciousness?

Looking at some of his ideas for articles for the newsletter, most of them aren't what you'd call deep stuff. He's very anti-cop and he doesn't like to be hassled. I can only imagine what it's been like for him, off on these beautiful multiple-week drunks and having to be hassled by the fuzz. Wouldn't you just like to take the fuzz by the lapels sometime and say, "Lay off, copper, my friend's not hurting anyone. Take your officious, self-righteous, crock of crap lawman pretentiousness, and get the hell out of here! He sleeping it off, as you can perfectly well see, because there's a party tonight he doesn't want to miss."

I said I had some spirituality going on, remember? Even the Good Book says drinking is fine. I'm looking it up. 1 Timothy 5:23: "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." So water's out and wine's in. Something for your stomach, which is where liquids go. And something to help with infirmities. Let me do some interpretation of the verse. It says "Use a little wine." I like that. Going by that, it's all relative, use what you need. If wine's OK, anything else you need would be OK too. The same principle holds for the phrase "thy stomach's sake." All other body parts might benefit. So, in Tipsy's case, he's got all the bases covered.

Yes, Tipsy's an all right kind of guy. If I wasn't for the whole yoga discipline thing -- and I'm extremely faithful to it -- I wouldn't mind joining him. Tip up and down a bottle of rye, I'd be lubed too! I met this guy one time and we got on the subject of drinking. I asked him, "Do you drink?" He goes, "Nope ... I guzzle."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Newsletter -- Subscriptions Update

I'm running the access numbers again, in case you missed yours. As a reminder, I have officially opened up subscriptions for my new exciting newsletter, to be published very soon. But you do need to have an access number to receive it, because, quite frankly, I can't afford to send one to everyone who wants one. That'd be literally everyone in the world!

So today, if you look in the little white box above, you might see your own private access number. If there is an access number shown, obviously that's what you'll use when you subscribe. Enter the number when directed -- and, please, it has to be precisely as written -- and you'll be good to go. If, however, you see no number, but just a white box, then you are not currently eligible for a subscription. I am so sorry for any inconvenience, but as I said, money's tight. You will probably agree, it's best that I start out small in case there's any glitches along the way.

The fact is, the first run will be very small, as it will be limited to 300 copies, all mailed. Even that's a huge expense: Stamps are expensive, envelopes are up in price, paper's through the roof, and toner ink, we all know that problem...

But it could be that I'll have issues going out to more of you sooner rather than later, because I'm currently making arrangements with several companies -- including lots of little companies I'd never heard of, Chinese companies, Middle Eastern companies -- to monetize my initial subscribers. Yes, it's exciting stuff, with the potential for me to make some big bucks by monetizing your information, whatever I'm privy to, with up to 600 companies. If I receive only a penny per company, that's $6.00 per subscriber per month. If I can do that, of course I'll want as many subscribers as possible. Because I'll be rolling in it.

I know a couple of you will be concerned about your private information getting out there. Well, you don't need to give it a second thought. Because I've been assured by these characters, who haven't given me their names, precisely, nor have I seen their faces -- the light isn't so good in the alleys around here -- that everything's on the up and up. They're definitely gung ho for it, and that's a great sign. In fact, they're so excited they're asking that I press you for more information. Credit card details, Social Security info, bank accounts, the whole bit, which to me says a lot. It says these guys are "full service," and that's the kind of service we all want.

They say, though, that falling short of the ideal won't be a deal breaker. They're willing to accept any information I can get, even if it's just your name, address, birthday, phone numbers, your mother's maiden name, who your best man or maid of honor was, and the city where you met your spouse. See, they want to have a friendly relationship with you, maybe send you a birthday card and special offers to your friends. Like the points on a rewards card. You have to agree it'd be great to get 3,000 points for doing nothing but subscribing to a newsletter. I know people who've lived and died and struggled and still haven't gotten close to 3,000 points.

Anyway, it's all win-win. Not only will you receive the newsletter -- and I promise to make it as good as I can, lots of articles, blurbs, maybe a few connect-the-dot illustrations of stuff from my personal collection -- but your mailbox will be literally stuffed with catalogs, letters, various come-ons, offers for insurance policies, charity pleas, the whole bit. Just as a funny aside, if it's too much for your mailbox, they'll probably have an offer for a bigger one!

So, you may say, what if I don't want all that mail, all those offers? I'd say try be more flexible. Because look, you'll get great environmental cred with your friends and neighbors when they see how much you're recycling. I'd be proud to be dragging two or three bins to the curb every week instead of just the one I've currently got. Your neighbors might even give up recycling all together when they see they can't compete. Another benefit, you could do what my grandparents used to do, let the kids have the mail you don't want. When you're a kid it's great to get mail. They can fill it in and, as a surprise to you, be applying for multiple credit cards. At first you'll object, but when you see some of the great gifts they're getting you'll be very glad.

I hope I've taken care of all lingering doubts. If I have, great. If I haven't, well, no one's twisting your arm to subscribe. You can always show your complete lack of gratitude by ignoring the access number. Making me feel bad in the process, but what do you care? You don't care. Hell, if you're Number One in your own mind -- I've known people like that, stunted in their feelings -- that's all that counts. Other people's dreams, like mine of having a top-notch newsletter, sent out only to select people (and that's you), don't matter. Put me out to pasture, let me wither on the vine. You don't care.

I'll definitely have second thoughts, though, about ever doing anything nice for you again. I won't. I'll send your access code to someone who appreciates it and you'll be out forever. There's lots of other fish in the sea, choking on pollution, hoping someone will catch them and answer their dying wish.

I say you will subscribe. You need to! You want me monetize you. Because look at it this way, I didn't have to tell you any of this. I could've signed you up, no questions asked, and you would've been totally surprised -- and probably appreciative -- to be on 600 to 1,000 lists, receiving the mail, and having people take out credit cards in your name, the whole bit. Maybe you don't like to get out and shop. You won't have to, with so many others doing it for you.

Let's get it going, OK? Because the newsletter's just about to be published! We're working on it! We're stuffing it with blurbs and things I haven't even thought of yet. And you need to be on board. I want us to shake on it. Let's solemnize it, let's make a bond between you and me that cannot be broken. That you'll agree to, stand by, and keep forever. My handshake will also be on behalf of my 600 partner companies.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Newsletter -- The Object

I'm about ready to put out a newsletter, and I have a staff, which I hope will make the process smoother and make for a more interesting newsletter. I'm a big believer that more voices add something. I've been looking to enhance our chances, so we got together and I led the team in one of the exercises I do at some of my seminars, whether it be on group dynamics or anything. This is a great exercise even for something like positive thinking, firing up some of those tired brain cells. I recommend it.

I called the group to order and explained our "conundrum," The Object before us. Hmm, what is it? By that I meant, What is it beyond what it obviously is, in this case a stone? What does your mind tell you? I've been doing some personal spiritual development -- look for my seminar in six months -- so this is an exercise that makes me tingle all over.

You probably remember my staff. In the graphic, going clockwise from the upper right corner, we have, the Lady, and from the work release farm, Spud Tuber, Cannibal, Stanley "Tipsy" White, Dashing Danny Whfrf, and me.

So there we were, chairs in a circle with The Object on a table in the center. What is it? What are you thinking? Think deeply. We have The Object in common. Take a deep breath and release, not in your neighbor's face. What could it be? As usual, answers weren't immediately given. Either a case of nerves or mentality. The guys seemed clueless. Only the Lady, clearly the one with the fullest deck, and everything else, was forthcoming, "I am perplexed," she said.

Ever patient, I counseled them to close their eyes again as I spoke. "I have given seminars for some of the smartest people on the planet. Fortune 500 companies. Scientists. Fifth graders. And nine times out of ten they also sit in silence as you have. Until they do what I'm going to ask you to do: Open your eyes suddenly and mark in your mind the first thing you think of when you look at The Object. Now!"

We went around the circle. The Object reminded Spud of a big potato. It reminded Tipsy of a flask. Dashing Danny saw a nice little lady's purse, fit for the taking. Cannibal picked it up and chipped a tooth, apparently seeing in it the cheek of someone's juicy ass. That was the guys. The Lady started, then regathered her thoughts, like maybe she was reluctant to reveal too much. She pulled back in silence, then after eye contact she braved it, "I see in it the egg in the Ukrainians' Bird Goddess mythology, circa 4500 B.C." I nodded, "Yes, I can see how you'd arrive at that conclusion."

I thought to myself, This gal's really on the ball! Not just a pretty package, there's something going on in there! Or maybe she just got lucky. Beginner's luck, pearls of wisdom as from a child, a random assortment of words that just happened to make sense...

We broke into groups. Right away I and the Lady were one group. None of the others wanted to be partners with Cannibal, so there was a group of three with Cannibal alone. I gave them five minutes to confer, then we would reconvene. They were to come up with a consensus answer, thinking deeply about what is truly is.

It's in these group dynamics settings that I really shine. I figured Cannibal would have the fewest insights, so I would call on him last. That's a good way to encourage the smarter ones to take charge without the entire group being sidelined by the stupidest. As for the other three prisoners, I knew they had enough mentality on the ball to jog forth at least one thought. This really isn't to slight Cannibal entirely; he's dumb, but as is true of all prisoners, he has convictions.

When we came together, the three guys really disappointed me. Dashing Danny was the spokesperson, and whatever progress they had made was lost. Probably because of the complexity of the Lady's previous answer. The had decided to go back to The Object as a literal rock, which Dashing Danny said would "be great for throwing through a plate glass window and making off with the goods!" I shook my finger to scold him.

I was the spokesperson for myself and the Lady, saying we had set aside the goddess imagery, to behold in The Object a representation of the linga, not precisely a phallic symbol, as some would contend, but a symbol of something more nebulous, but something that could be perceived in a shape like this, while not really having a distinct form. It is a primal concept, inherently beyond thought, which dissolves in our imagination and leaves us in the presence of the vast, the void, the divine. I looked over at the guys and saw the vast void in their eyes.

"OK, how about you, Cannibal? What do you see in The Object?" Before I knew it, he leaped on me and bit off the little finger on my right hand! The pain was excruciating but I was immediately enlightened.

LATER: After the incident the Lady got me a BandAid® brand adhesive bandage and took me to the ER. The doc reattached my finger and told me to soak it in ice for extra-fast healing. It doesn't feel too bad, except every time I hit the ENTER button I scream.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Newsletter -- My Staff

It's nice to finally get back to the newsletter (and also blogging), after a few days off. I say "days off," when in fact it's been anything but.

Having a staff has turned into a mixed blessing, mostly bad, but fascinating nonetheless. I got four prisoners, paid pennies by the state, from the work release farm. The first mixed blessing is you have to sign your life away with the forms. I had to give assent to the official terms, that "Hiring said parties may result in death and dismemberment to the party of the first part," i.e., me. The way I look at it, I have a Savior, I'm ready to go if need be. Although, God forbid! -- am I right?

Still, anything to save money. Then there's the token lady. I never want to be accused of favoring male prisoners over law-abiding women. No, seriously, I love women; my Mom was a lady. But as you can imagine, it's a potent mix. Some of these characters act like they haven't learned the basic lessons of childhood, like "Don't stare." The lady seems to be taking it as a compliment, but it's making me uncomfortable as hell.

A lot of my time is spent trying to instill in these guys -- I'll call them what they are, losers -- a few of the basics of propriety and decency. Then, assuming we can get the preliminaries out of the way, we can buckle down and put out the best newsletter anyone's ever known! At the present moment I'm proposing a modest three-pager. Drill the guys for a few blurbs, if they're able to think of anything, and also open it up for the lady, if she has a recipe or make-up tip.

I probably should introduce them, Dashing Danny Whfrf, Spud Tuber, Stan "Tipsy" White, and the Cannibal. I already introduced the lady. Right away when we came together for our first editorial meeting I noticed a weird dynamic and addressed one key issue: "Keep your filthy hands off the lady. If anything happens beyond 'God bless you," you're out, back to the farm!" The first three were silent, making Cannibal's hissing and clawing at the air that much more unsettling.

That out of the way, I described my blog, my claim to fame, as a fairly well-known blog in the online world. Famous among the literati, glitterati, those into esoteric lore, as well as the entirely conventional. Everyone from your plain jane to your chocolatey gooey mess. These are my people! The unselfconscious vanilla milquetoast as well as those so far off the wall they're in the field.

The lady asked, "If you have such a successful blog why put out a newsletter?" I had to wonder if one of the prisoners coached her on such a coherent, insightful question, but they kept a completely blank expression, poker faced. "I want something more special for my readers, something that's exclusive for subscribers only." She had no comeback for that, the coaching obviously not extending to rejoinders, and still the guys weren't revealing anything. Cannibal munched playfully on the Potato Man's arm before he rose up and backhanded Cannibal across the room. It did my heart good; playfulness is good for community-building. Tipsy sipped on one of those tiny bottles of whiskey. Danny paid close attention, giving me the creepy feeling that he might be a usurper.

I've always been something of a people-watcher, so it did my heart good to see the dynamic going on. I take after my dad, who would often sit on the bench and watch people till he fell asleep. We would come along later and help him home and to bed, only to prop him up again on the bench the next day and leave. I really found out in those days how good people are. Thieves would come by and try to strip him of valuables, but passersby were great, so often coming to his aid and restoring his things.

We're getting close to Father's Day, so that's not a half bad memory. Might make the newsletter. Spruce it up, make us kids look better than we were, while keeping the "people are great" angle. You compliment people and they'll eat out of your hand. Meaning, another great article would be to compliment my readers. I love my readers. I'm reminded of a record/CD store I used to go to: "Through these doors pass the greatest people in the world." Then every CD had about five anti-theft devices on it, that's how good they were.

Keep your enemies close, your friends closer. And if you have an editorial team made up of prisoners, with a lady in the mix, keep them as close as can be, without them able to actually chew on you. Looking at the lady, though, a little harmless love nosh wouldn't be so terrible.

Excuse me. "Cannibal, that's close enough! Remember, the lady needs her personal space!"

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Newsletter -- Subscriptions Open

These are the times that thrill men's souls. When a brand new newsletter rolls out of the printer and is available to the general public. To be read. Shared. Treasured.

It's been months in the planning, my own newsletter, and now it's finally here. Along with my staff -- four men and a lady -- I've been hard at work, as boss and editor-in-chief, collecting news and views to be published. I can't wait to see the first issue, then sit back and read it myself, and do as the great editors of the past did, get printer's ink on my fingers.

Staff? Yes, I said staff. I was given the opportunity, at minimal expense, for a few work release prisoners from the farm to help with the project. You see Dashing Danny Whfrf above. He's quite the little newsman! Very interested in newsletter production, plus his hobby of sharpening the cutest little dirks.

A lot of what I'm doing here is untested and unknown, such as what demand I'm going to have for subscriptions. So I'm parceling out access numbers quite sparingly. If you see an access number in the graphic, you're one of the lucky ones. If it's blank, I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait.

You can imagine, though, the joy of those who have an access code. I know if I were sitting where you're sitting, and say I didn't have a code, I'd have mixed feelings, probably a combination of anger and jealousy. But I would look on the bright side; this is a God-given chance to work on the negativity in your life, and overcome the instinct to lash out.

Which will only be more difficult when you realize what all you're missing. Content you can't get anywhere else. I'm keeping it exclusive to the newsletter. But I don't mind hinting around about some of it. I have a nature/electronics article, kind of a rant, about planning for the 17-year cicadas in 2032. Briefly, I don't see why I can't put a reminder on my iPhone for May 2032, so when the time comes I don't forget. I tried. They don't let you...

Then there's a nice piece on me as a 79-year-old in 2032, greeting my little nature friends. I've had such a wonderful time with cicadas this year. Their drone/mantra would be enough, were it not for those pesky mosquitoes, to carry me into complete chakra ecstasy. Seriously, I'd be naked on a shimmering pillow in the sahasrara right now drinking amrita, if not for mosquitoes. 

For the guys among my readers, I'm also sharing some of my intimate fantasies about Hannah and her horse. We're on a beautiful island, the sea is a gorgeous blue, it's a complete paradise. The sand's white, the weather's beautiful. We have a pet goat and of course her horse. I've done everything I can to make a nice shelter for us, a tiny kitchen area, a tiny dining area, and a tiny living room area, leaving room for a spacious bedroom. The only thing we're not concerned with, not in the slightest, is DirectTV.

Look for your access code. I don't want anyone to miss out. If it doesn't appear, refresh your browser a few times. If that doesn't work, I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do. I suppose you could reboot your computer, which sometimes helps but not usually.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Newsletter -- 3-Day Stubble

LOVE ANTICS -- Every household has their little jokes. It's no different for me and my husband the Pink Professor. We're something of friendly rivals when it comes to working, always playfully arguing which one works hardest. I strut around the room, my head pushed back, sort of like a drum majorette on the march, going, "I be the hardest worker!" Then he leaps up and falls back suddenly to his chair, going, "I've been working so hard I can't even stand up, at least you're still fit to strut!"

That's the way a marriage should be, am I right? It's not all seriousness and "How was your day, dear?" Little love antics along with friendly competition, being strong for each other and each other's biggest fan, but still wanting some advantage for yourself, as in, "Look at me, dog, I am bad!" Woo hoo! I haven't been this cranked since that time I drank a Mountain Dew in the '80s. But this guy, Pink, simply always brings out the devil in me. OK, a blushing devil, since as everyone knows, I'm fundamentally good.

OK, hard work was the subject. And I've been putting in some of the longest damned hours of my life. Working on my newsletter project, the newsletter I hope to get going, to be sent out via email to subscribers, and as an adjunct to the blog. In it, I promise, there will be lots of juicy tidbits about me and Pink. Just a sample, I was working up an advice column, with fake questions, but general stuff everyone gets caught up in, using some of the things we've been through to guide me in my advice.

One biggie, usually quite hush-hush in most relationships, has to be, "Who initiates?" and "What response should the other partner then make? Is there any obligation?" Of course, one believes if it's obligatory, strictly speaking, that's no good, because in any relationship there has to be free choice or you're as good as a slave. Still, to a certain extent, depending on various factors, there indeed is an expectation that there will be some mutual follow-through. The best example I have is this: If Pink initiates the idea that we grill dinner, I don't have to agree with his choice, but if I don't follow-through on it at least occasionally I should have a good reason.

OK, that shows I've been working hard, and I doesn't show any sign of letting up. And here's the thing, I've been working so hard that I neglected my hygiene and appearance. As of this morning, I hadn't had a shower in three days, I had on the same undies and shirt and pants, and I hadn't shaved. I literally had the worst three-day stubble of my life. That's how much effort the newsletter's getting from me. It's been all-consuming.

So as horseplay, Pink comes out this morning and sees my disgusting appearance and acts like he doesn't recognize me. "Have you see DBK, my clean-shaven hubby?" Then he laughs and says, "I always wondered what you'd look like with a beard!" "It's not a beard," I protested, "but a three-day stubble that looks more like a week's!" Pink, ever the playful one, says, "Whatever it is, it's butt ugly and you need to take care of yourself, OK?" Was I hurt? No, I just laughed, and we fell into each other's arms, and, believe it or not, we did grill a little earlier, burgers and a few chicken legs. I didn't have a "headache," which would've been very convincing, given the heat.

SUBSCRIPTIONS -- I am serious about the newsletter. I want people to subscribe but I don't want them to UNsubscribe. Nothing brings me down faster in my relationship with my readers -- complete strangers -- than when they rudely turn away. I used to have a bunch of faithful followers on Facebook. They were all, "Attaboy, we love you," etc., then one by one they fell away. I don't know what changed, although I suspect they were lured away by someone in disguise.

THREE-DAYS -- It's funny I haven't published the newsletter for three days now. Giving me time, as it were, to have regrown my three-day stubble (as everything above this paragraph was written three days ago). Although I didn't, instead remaining clean shaven. The true reason I haven't been around is, I went to the cellar for preserves and, finding none, kept looking.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Newsletter -- Today America!

TODAY AMERICA, TOMORROW THE WORLD! -- Well, friends, I've finally done it, swept across America with my blog. It's been a long time coming, but like everything worth having, it was worth the wait. I remember a few years back when they said it couldn't be done, I took my famous vow of chastity until it happened, and now, thanks to you, it's time to let it go.

OK, I'm back.

And the real amazing thing -- among many amazing things -- about this is, I'm just one local guy. But in America, guess what, that's all it takes. One measly guy, one nobody, one big fat goose-egg zip like me, if truth be told the lowest of the low, not amounting to spit, and worthy, truly, to be ground to powder under the scrawniest weakling's feet, but now look at me. I'm the same guy, but this is America!

I remember hearing how even Abraham Lincoln started out like me. In fact he had it worse in some ways. He had to read by the light of a fireplace, I had a flashlight. He got up everyday and split rails, the worst I had were split ends. He was so dumb a little girl had to tell him to grow a beard. My face has a perpetual stubble no one likes to see, and these days you don't get letters from little girls; he was lucky to be elected, given the scandal. But he did get elected, and now it's my turn.

I've been holding off on the big word till it was complete. If you look at the map above, you can see the dots now cover the entire country, the lower 48. (The results of Alaska aren't in, because it's so vast, and I'm not trying very hard for Hawaii, because there's barely enough room for dots.) Each of those dots means at least one person -- "at least" means they could represent thousands -- is not only reading my blog but perhaps loving it. I'm guessing on that.

Just wait till they get word that there's a newsletter in the works -- with subscriptions about to be available -- and I'll be so popular I'll probably end up with my own podcast. Which will be very awesome, but I'll probably have to hire staff to do it for me. Being a nobody, my voice isn't that great for radio, kind of a scratchy, raspy, croaking noise, plus I've got a cough that very quickly becomes a nasty hacking.

I've kept my American stats quiet, as I said, but I've mentioned my foreign stats a few times. Interestingly enough, the countries I'm most popular in are kind of weird, Russia and the Ukraine. Which makes me nervous, because I have a hard time picturing them identifying with me. To tell the truth, I think they're using my site for some kind of [shenanigans]. I have my suspicions and fear for my life.

Among the other countries, I seem to be the King of France, since that's one of my biggest countries. I hope that's true, because I'd hate to see the French go down the same path as the Russians and the Ukes. France is big for me, and a few years ago I had a hit from Mauritius. Is that what it's called? That was 2010. I don't know what happened but I haven't noticed them since.

Anyway, thank you, world. And a big huge thank you, America. You did me right. I stood by you, now you're standing by me. I said the Pledge of Allegiance all those years ago, and since then I've taken part in other patriotic exercises, namely, listening to the Star Spangled Banner on sports broadcasts. I've heard a few good versions and a bunch of bad ones. That's a pet peeve. What's so damned hard about standing there, arms at your side, and singing a modest, respectful version of the Anthem? All this caterwauling and substituting different notes for the right notes -- I'm a liberal, but I'm aghast...

Speaking of 2010, a few of my long time supporters will remember when my success started, when I won the Gorton Fisherman Award for Writing Excellence for 2010. Something as modest as that got the ball rolling! A few here, then a few there, sat up and took notice. And I kept eating Gorton frozen fish, which is good brain food, and running with every silly idea I could think of to blog about, and as things went along, I started seeing much bigger success. And ever since I've had much bigger fish to fry.

Stand with me! USA! USA! USA! With a shout out to Mauritius, call me. And France. And the other countries, the Ukes, whoever they may be and whatever no good they may be up to, along with the Ruskies, which seems just weird. Stand with me! And you know, with "Bob" Dobbs as my witness, I'll stand by you. Until global warming, climate change, and the rising tides overtake our great land, which, God willing, we'll recognize before it's too late. Even if the jig's up, at least they'll still be able to play the blame game as their last gambit -- "Those damned liberals, why'd they have to send out Al Gore as their messenger; we would've listened to anyone but him, we really would've..." Hollow, folks.

No, I'm not part of that number. I'm part of the good side, the side that says ... at this point, what can you say? We made our bed, now we have to lie in it. That's no lie. That's my biggest fear. Someday all those places that are now covered with dots, my readers, will be uninhabitable, and I'll be back to what I started out as, a guy in the beautiful Midwest, which by then will be overrun with refugees.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Newsletter -- Drone Guy


Being up to date on the latest in everything, I've been out front of everyone else in using drones. They're a lot of fun, in such activities as dropping into people's backyards and taking personal videos of nude people on trampolines, as well as more traditional scientific exploration. I was recently involved in proving once and for all that bears don't spawn, but mate in the normal way on dry land. Flowers, chocolates, the whole bit.

Recently I tackled a scientific question that's vexed me since childhood. I would always ask questions as a child, and sometimes adults were up front with an answer and sometimes they weren't. They filled my head with strange answers about tooth fairies, Christmas elves, and delivery storks. Little did I know everything could be proven one day, simply by having a drone. One of the answers they had for me -- speaking of my grandparents here -- was that thunder was simply potatoes rolling down the cellar stairs. I accepted that, as absurd as it sounds.

Now that I have a drone, I've been thinking, one of these days, when it storms, I ought to get the little guy revved up and put this question to rest, once and for all. It's definitely noisy up there in the sky; obviously something is clunking around up there and with some real force, if I can hear it all the way inside my house. Why should we allow such things to perplex us?

Up to now, I believe I know why no one's given it a go, the high price of drones; no one wants to lose a drone that can be somewhere around $300. And it would almost certainly be threatened. How would you guide the thing up there as it's being battered about, and manage to return it to earth without smashing it to smithereens. On the bright side, when exploring thunder we do have the advantage of being able to see our drone, as it seems that lightning's usually around about the same time.

Well, the day came and I was in the field, a modern day Ben Franklin. Yes, lightning was everywhere, and thunder, not to be outdone, roared all around me just seconds after each bolt. I circled my drone above, for the longest time unable to narrow down my target, the core of the noise. As the lightning came closer, then came so close it was singeing the grass just scant inches from my feet, I discerned that thunder's core was just overhead.

I looked straight up and guided the drone closer, ever closer, to thunder's nucleus. The lightning threatened me, as if to register a complaint, "Who's the star of this show anyway?" But I put off all such questions, being stolid in my determination not to be sidetracked. I shook my fist, as if to proclaim, "I'm the boss here!"

Incredibly, my drone was responsive to my every wish, miraculously dodging lightning's fury, with a single-minded mission that it would find the heart of thunder or be damned. You see that kind of resolution -- the sheer grit and guts -- it takes your breath away. I thought, "What a flight! Lightning bolts everywhere, flashing brightness in a fierce display, but gaining nothing to its own advantage! All the flashes could do was encourage me: O say, I can see that my drone is still there!

Looking back on it now, I know I escaped with my life only by the skin of my teeth. And my drone as well, being worth a little over $300 and deserving every penny. From now on I'll be doing everything by drone, whether it's ordering my Thanksgiving turkey or checking the shingles on the house for wear. The damned thing proved itself, and how!

Working it, I furiously clicked pictures and changed its programming on the fly to get a few videos, all at a lightning pace, so to speak, with my hands aching like hell from manipulating the joystick, buttons, gears, and levers.

Back later at base camp, with the storm passed, I checked the results and studied the various pictures I got of thunder, and, indeed -- God bless my grandparents -- thunder truly is, but on an unimaginably massive scale, huge potatoes rolling down the cellar stairs, the enormous stairs of the heavenly realms above. Eternal life comes with a side of fries.

SUBSCRIPTIONS -- Subscriptions for the newsletter have been temporarily suspended before they could even begin, as I need to resolve various complaints I got yesterday. There's some controversy about my system of unsubscribing with the displayed coupon. I said you could unsubscribe by sending in the coupon, but only if you sent in the original as duplicates won't be accepted. The question came up, "Does printing the coupon constitute a duplicate? In terms of the coupon being on my monitor, is that considered the original? How would I fill it out and get it to you?" I see the point but I haven't yet worked through the dilemma. Yes, it does seem that printing the coupon would be the only way to do it, but I said duplicates won't be accepted. So at this point I'm as stymied as anyone. Here's where I'm stuck: I refuse to change my mind, but I'm not sure what the rule means in practical terms.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Newsletter -- Can I Unsubscribe?

Can I unsubscribe? Is that what you're asking? I thought so. You asked me a question, so I'll ask you a question as well. If you wanted to unsubscribe, why did you subscribe in the first place? Are you just so casual about declaring to the world that you don't know your own mind? And that you're such a fickle person as to not know what you wanted in the first place. You're all up in my face with umbrage over unsubscribing when perhaps I should be up in your face about why you originally subscribed. I remember seeing your subscription come in, and I recall saying, wrongly, it now seems, "There's a person I can depend on..."

Of course I'd rather you didn't unsubscribe. One, if you didn't know your mind originally, perhaps you're going against your ultimate will now. And you'll turn around in a few weeks -- months, tops -- and beg to be resubscribed. I wish I had a nickel for every person I've known who's done things like that. "He loves me, he loves me not." What's clear about most of these characters is that they're blown about by the wind. It's cool to subscribe to this guy's newsletter .... Then suddenly it's not .... With the tide turning once again, and everyone wants on board. Try, just try, not to follow the crowd.

At this point, though, we're not going by what I want. God forbid I might know best. Hell no, that can't be possible, can it? It's like I'm building a house with rotten lumber. What kind of house will I have? This piece decides it doesn't want to be part of the house. I wake up and the roof says it's had enough. I can only hope the basement sticks it out or the whole thing's lost! Isn't that something, that a basement, the lowest part of the house, has such power? You'd think, the basement, how humble, how untidy; there's bugs and spider webs and dust and dark corners down there; that's where we keep the sump pump. Stop to think, maybe it's your one subscription that's holding up the entire newsletter.

But no one stops to think. Because people are off in their own selfish little world, apparently capable of putting 2 and 2 together, but on closer examination all you get's a blank stare. Or a selfish, baby-like sniffling and whimpering and tantrums; the one thing they're good at is throwing tantrums! Bringing the whole house to a standstill while we get them cleaned up, or whatever the problem is. "Hush little baby, don't say a word ... if you wanna unsubscribe, it's no skin off my ass ... much!" Or is it? You unsubscribe and I might suddenly become sullen and develop writer's block, and next thing you know there's not a newsletter in sight! I've seen it happen.

Sometimes I wish -- yes, I wish -- I could be the linchpin like that for some guy's whole enterprise. Because the way it is for me, I'm always thinking, "No one's depending on me." When there actually could be a guy, or a show, or a production out there tottering on its last legs, with my allegiance, my willingness to stand with them being decisive. Well, don't get your hopes up. I'm not publishing my stats -- I keep all that top secret from my cutthroat competition -- but I can assure you, I've still got strength, top to bottom. And if you unsubscribe that's what you're going to miss.

I had a few of my more fickle subscribers (in the past) acting like I was Svengali, trying to keep a grip on them out of some funky ulterior motive, not just the good of the newsletter. To whom I say, Don't flatter yourself! Look, be realistic, my readership is worldwide, with barely any of them being local people. If they were local and I was Svengali, that'd be different. I'd be at their house, or them at mine, leading them by a chain in their nose, or simply by the power of my personality. My deep-set hypnotic eyes. My mystical hand pointing the way to a subterranean boudoir with all the fixins'. Or pulling a rope and having a servant subdue you. That never happens, at least not as often as you'd think.

The biggest reason it doesn't happen -- and, yes, I have appetites like everyone -- is my life is complicated enough without having to worry that people will have some reason to come back on me, or blackmail me. The cops show up, I don't want them finding anything, and they won't. "What's that black light and all the swirling colors in your garage?" "It's nothing, and I don't think your warrant mentions the garage. But if you must know, that's a party for happy subscribers to my newsletter, and if you'll pass me that bathrobe, I'm expected to join them momentarily, if you're finished searching the house."

Yes, I want subscribers simply for the good of the newsletter and my other enterprises, the blog, etc. I'll probably get a lot of good when I go to newsletter conventions and we're comparing subscriptions. It'll be a downer if I have to continually revise my figures -- I'm very precise -- based on the latest number of unsubscribers. No one wants to be a laughingstock at conventions, certainly I don't want that.

OK, look at it this way, I haven't even yet opened this current incarnation of the newsletter to subscribers. So why are you so concerned about being able to unsubscribe? If you feel you will be unsubscribing, you can see I have a little coupon you can cut out. When the time comes, if you just fill that out -- and make sure you don't submit a duplicate coupon, because I'll only accept originals -- I'll see that you are justly taken care of.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Newsletter -- Only Child

INCREDIBLE -- Hard to believe I'm not an only child, because I'm my biggest fan. I reread my first newsletter post of a couple days ago, and I have to say "Bravo!" That business about me posting about DQ as far back as 1971-72 was really prescient, since it continues to be an abiding interest today. I guess I had incredible wisdom back then as well as today! Pointing to something deep, the theory that each of us has things in our consciousness that we are not entirely aware of, at least in their full bloom. The seed is there but it's not in the form we recognize as anything. I'd like to develop techniques to enhance this faculty. One technique I remember from somewhere -- I'm floundering to remember what it's called -- oh, yes, it's brainstorming. What can you say about the world of such amazing techniques?

SUBSCRIPTIONS -- The newsletter idea is bringing out the best in me. I credit this to the fact that I've always been a fan of the idea of a good newsletter. Whether you're sending it out to every employee in a company, to every member of a church, or, as I envision it here, to every member of the online community who makes a full lifetime commitment to receive it, and further, who pledges to make the most of it, i.e., as far as their own wisdom and development, as well as becoming even more of a life-affirming person than they already are. Beware of subscribing, but you're blessed if you do.

ONLY CHILD -- A good newsletter gives you the feeling -- as the writer or the reader -- that you're someone special, because it's just for you, a relatively small group of people, the in-crowd. For me, in my generation, unlike every scrawny honyock today, we didn't have the sense all the time that we were special. The closest you came to that sense was if you were an only child.

My mother had so many kids she didn't know what to do, and I was first. So I was an only child for a while. Looking back on it, if I had then the knowledge I have today, I would've screamed bloody murder every time my parents retired for the evening. They would've thrown their arms up in disgust, gotten mad at each other, each accusing the other of being a bad parent, and I'd have kept them to myself. But of course I love my siblings, that's not the issue.

OK, big deal, I was deprived back then, but that doesn't mean I can't write a newsletter today ... and catch up!

These days, though, there's so many "only children" the kids have it incredibly good. They're made to feel so amazingly special that I wonder what's going to happen to them when they're thrown to the wolves of the world when they leave home. Assuming they ever have to, since Mommy and Daddy's reach is so much longer now, being online and connected 24/7. On the other hand, maybe it'd be better to be thrown to the wolves, then they could be like me, grasping at every crutch that drifts along, which truly is what this newsletter idea is. I notice none of the "only children" in my family have a newsletter...

Yes, I have "only children" in my family, and I see them daily on Facebook. They've just colored another picture! They put the candle on their birthday cake all by themselves! They just wrecked the car, but, good news, we've already got a new one! Don't get me started...

And wouldn't you know it, there's a big difference between these "only children" and me, their incredible success. They haven't got a newsletter, but that doesn't mean they aren't using crutches. Mostly Mommy and Daddy's continued helicopter parent intervention. And now with drones, I'm afraid what the next generation will be. Both parents have a drone on you, you can't do anything wrong so you may as well be an extraordinary success!

I had some other stuff to say about "only children," but it's coming out a bit harsh. But I'll just say, if my parents had a drone on me when I was in college, things would've been different for me too.

OLD NEWS -- It's the third day and I'm about out of old news. That's how little happened in the past. Oh, I have one. When I was a kid I used to go around the neighborhood singing "Long Tall Sally." You know Little Richard's version, and Elvis' version, fairly tame. Then there was The Beatles' version, with Paul McCartney shrieking out the opening, "I'm gonna tell Aunt Mary 'bout Uncle John, Claims he's got the misery but he's have lotsa fun, oh baby!" I'd be out shrieking that and I remember this one time, a neighbor lady came running out of the house like she thought it was an life or death emergency. She was ticked off to find it was just me singing, but probably relieved too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Newsletter -- Heart Attack

NEWSLETTER CONCERNS - At the top I'll take a moment of personal privilege to thank so many of you for your words of encouragement since I announced a reboot of my old newsletter. It's great to have such kind friends. But with your encouragement you expressed concerns, and that's what I want to touch on briefly.

Your essential concern is that taking on this task is quite an undertaking, perhaps too much for one person, in addition to my other duties, the blog, living my own life, keeping mice out of my house, etc. "How can you even think of adding this to your load?" was the most insistent, gut-wrenching question I got.

Let me first say, If I didn't think I could do it, I wouldn't try. I'm not one of those fools who always tests his limits. I accept my limits in life, believing it's better to abide peacefully in complete insentience than to try to do more than you're able. As for the newsletter, I know I can do it!

Yes, of course a newsletter can be a real handful, particularly for the average person. But I have advantages: There's my iron will and steely resolve. There's my far-reaching ability to glimpse the end from the beginning, giving me the greatest confidence. And finally, even if all that forsook me, there's my super brain. I assure you, with a super brain you can accomplish a lot more than pure idiots. (I'm not dissing anyone, don't write in.)

Your concerns are appreciated, but as you can tell, I've got this thing! How? The learning goes in the hopper. Just this morning I read a few pages of a book, very refreshing. The learning arrives at my super brain's grinders, where it's ground to whatever consistency I choose; this particular book became fine meal. Finally, the chute roars into action with the barrel collecting the next newsletter.

HEART ATTACK - The previous article is everything a newsletter would need. But I'm going on, adding more! Another way you can encourage me is to subscribe. I can't tell you how much I love seeing my numbers go up. Whether it's by 100, 10, or even 1, it thrills me to no end. That's what your subscription does for me, and I thank you. But there's also something that drags me down, and really sets me off, sometimes to the point of violent rage. You guessed it, if anyone UNsubscribes. Just seeing the number go down by 1 is enough, all things being equal, to unhinge me. At which point I can't be held responsible for my actions. My one request to you is, If you subscribe, please do so with the unspoken vow in your mind that you will never UNsubscribe. When you resolve that, both of us will be happier. When I say this, friends, I'm serious, heart attack serious.

PHILOSOPHY FOR LIFE - I'm a big believer that everyone's life, and every second of life, has significance, and sometimes eternal consequences. A big part of our happiness comes from realizing this. It can be something monumental, like scaling a lofty mountain peak. You're up there, you feel the chilly wind rattling your bones, and you never forget it. Or it can be something as (apparently) trivial as reading a paragraph in some guy's newsletter and saying, "Hmm."

You see what that "Hmm" represents? A turning point, an insight, a flash of light, a moment. Like on a hot day when you take a sip of ice-cold water; you've endured the heat of the day and that sip comes across as a flash of refreshment.

My flash of refreshment to you today are these simple words, "Be encouraged." Take that in, let it roll around your mind. Seems so small, I know, like a BB in an auditorium. But somehow it keeps rolling back to you. You can ignore it, and soon your friends will say how wasted you look, how dessicated, and how terrible things must be for you. Or you can run with that good thought and become like Superman or Superwoman. Wouldn't you rather be Superman than Superwaste!

OLD NEWS - One time a teacher accused me of something I didn't do. Which was twiddle my finger around the side of my head, the same as saying, "The teacher is really dumb." I got in serious trouble, had to go to the office, where for punishment the principal shook me. It was the craziest thing, since I didn't do what they said I did. Meaning, the teacher deserved what I didn't give her!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Newsletter -- A Sacred Trust

INTRO - I've been kicking around the idea of getting my newsletter started again. It seems like there's no excitement like newsletter excitement. You're always rubbing someone the wrong way: "How dare you put that into print!" (There's always an email version, too, for those who don't like the sensitive nature of gossip in print.)

HISTORY - My newsletters actually go back to 1971 or '72, when I distributed one in my neighborhood, printing it on a Hectograph. In more modern times I briefly published in the early days of this blog, 2008. When I had the bright idea of real-life meetings. Which, incidentally, was how I made a lasting friend, Garrett Al (aka Geritol and Jor-el). But in those days he was a maniac and sexually assaulted me, so it wasn't all good. We're OK now.

NEWS - One of the pluses to subscribing is the newsletter is it's a great place to get news of me and the ideas I'm kicking around. You get insights into the creative process, including some of my strange meditation techniques, some of them so dangerous I should probably only hint at them. I was being chased by demons when this newsletter idea came to me.

SUBSCRIBING - I need to offer one big hint on unsubscribing, with the basic message about it being DON'T. When someone tries to unsubscribe it really gets to me. It's not pleasant and I can't be held responsible for my actions. The last time it happened I held my breath and ended up so blue I had to go in for painful skin-dying. You wouldn't want to unsubscribe anyway because you'd miss out on all the news of me, the ideas I'm kicking around, etc. In conclusion, I consider a subscription to my newsletter a sacred trust. With something like that, your eternal security could hang in the balance.

MY TRAVELS - Something I like putting in my newsletter is a record of my travels in the community. Which part of town will I be in today? Only subscribers know! Will I be at DQ? Perhaps. I've been a lifelong fan of DQ ever since I heard of it. How far back would that be? I wrote about it in my early '70s newsletters. I had an article about their banana splits being 40 cents. Then 45 cents! That's the day my life ended (the first time), when they raised the price. Now they're $3.39, a good bargain.

PEPPERING - I may even pepper my newsletters with a feature called OLD NEWS, snippets here and there of old memories, that are enhanced in their interest by the passage of time. One item of OLD NEWS I can think of right now concerns how much I would daydream when I was a kid. I used to sit in my room and stare at the air itself! I'd watch dust motes floating in the sunlight for hours, then feel sad when I had to leave them. Now, even though it's been over 50 years, I still sometimes wonder what ever became of those old friends.