by baldilocks

Red Pill–sort of

Since making a public New Year’s Resolution to minimize my time on Facebook and Twitter in order to finish my second novel, Arlen’s Harem, by February 1st, I’ve had minimize my time online in general.

The result is that I don’t really know what’s going on in the news right now, and it feels kind of good–I’m old enough to recall when the news cycle was a couple of weeks, rather than a couple of minutes.

Generally, I take two days off per week from the Internet Race-to-Comment, anyway, and when I come back, I have to spend an hour or two getting back in the loop. Three days of separation from the news-cycle fix nearly puts a news junkie in Low Information Voter (LIV) territory. But now, I don’t wonder why LIVs often seem calmer and happier: they don’t know that the sky is falling and, sometimes, it better not to know. Ignorance, bliss, you know.

The commentary race often gets bloggers in trouble anyway—if one is the slightest bit concerned about accuracy and about being original. That last concern is why I don’t comment on some topics and events—I have nothing new to say about them.

Staying away from shorter communications also has a positive effect on my ability to build a narrative. When I composed the bulk of Tale of the Tigers, I spent much of my non-typing work on it spinning yarns in my mind and connecting them to other parts of the novel. A handy, pre-smartphone tool was an mp3 player in which I could speak my story ideas without writing them down or having to remember them. (I made the grievous mistake of thinking through a story without out writing it down or recording it once…and only once.)

I’ve been semi-newsfree since about the 31st. Obviously, I’m going to have to watch the news a bit in order to post here and at my own blog. But, it feels good to know that I can still spit out 300 or 30K words without being fed by the Matrix.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 1, 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

by baldilocks

Yes, I know that I have been saying that my new novel would be ready this year. Probably not, but I have been working on it and I just want to remind readers that it exists, still. 

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“So, your Italian side is in effect today, I see,” said Cordelia.

“Yeah. Next week, when my black side is talking to me, Deanna and I are going to head up to the new soul food restaurant that’s by the apartment.”

“Soul food in Fullerton? That should be interesting. Make sure to bring me a plate.”

“That’s what Deanna said about this place when I said what I was doing tonight. All you two think about is food!”

“Well, that’s not all we’re thinking about,” she grinned. Continue reading “Novel Excerpt: Arlen’s Harem”

There are plenty of stories & photos from CPAC that you will be seeing on this site and others over the next week. No doubt more than a few will be written about Robert Stacy McCain. Let me tell you of two such stories, one public and one private.

The first took place in the suite of the National Bloggers Club as Stacy held mini court before the start of an exclusive access event. Surrounded by his fellow bloggers and friends he opined on the subject of cultural issues and norms that he has been writing about lately, particularly Miriam Weeks (you can read his pieces on that subject here here and here)

As I sat on the floor and listed to him speak I turned on my camera and entered the conversation with some questions, Stacy responded thus:

Our friends on the cultural left would encourage you to avoid Mr. McCain’s pieces and dismiss his on camera arguments as not worth the time or effort to read or hear and by “encourage” I mean suggest that to do so risks the withdrawal from you of their imprimatur of acceptability.

They have cause to have such an opinion. Exposure to an argument presented by a master wordsmith with knowledge and understanding of a subject beyond his opposition risks the realization that our cultural “betters” such as RomanEWTFYG” Polanski and his admirers are advancing positions no sane person would, as the old saying goes, risk a sixpence upon.

That’s not what you would expect from a man who, according to Glenn Reynolds one simply can not “out-crazy” unless you are familiar with the tradition of the jester.  He did not just entertain those he served but expressed openly, through his humor, thoughts that others dared not.

Many who see Stacy McCain simply as a philosopher jester and a dogged reporter miss another side of him. The base on which his strength as a blogger is built. The technical writer.  This side of him was on display for me Saturday night.

I saw very little of Stacy  at CPAC 2014 relative to other years as both of us have grown busy in our ventures but Saturday after venting my shock at the New York Times on Putin and recording my final interview of CPAC I was heading back to my hotel to pack and upload the last batch of  videos when I ran into him in the hall going in the opposite direction.  He was heading for the annual “unsustainable bar tab” event put on by a few mutual friends each year.  I had spent very little time with Stacy this trip so I joined him walking and talking as we headed toward the suite where the party/event was to take place.

(An aside,  I’m a great believer in the “avoid alcohol at events full of people with internet ready camera phones” and am constantly amazed at the ready violation of said rule by many but I digress…)

It’s no secret that I’ve called Stacy the “founder of the feast” and despite our proximity in age I consider him both model and mentor.  During that walk he acted the part.  Rather than making small talk about the conference or our families or the latest gossip he did what a good mentor does, teach.

As I mentioned the business side of the blog that I’ve been giving a lot of my time to,  he reminded me that while the business side of “writing for money” is important you can’t forget the cornerstone of a good piece: spelling, grammar & punctuation.

WordPress plug-in issues and my long adversarial relationship with proper English not withstanding you can’t expect people to pay for writing that doesn’t maintain certain basics standards, after all there is no shortage of such stuff available for free all around the net.

But beyond mechanics he talked about the structure of building an essay,  sentence by sentence each one leading the reader to the next. Such detail and care not only advances the point to be made but reinforces all the basics that are necessary for a good piece worthy of a reader’s financial support.

In the same way the Holy Rather reminds us sinners of the availability of Christ’s forgiveness through the sacrament without scolding, Stacy pro-offered this advice without accusation critique or even the pride of a man so advanced in these skills.  They were spoken as if it was the most national thing in the world that two writers might speak of the mechanics of the craft as they walked together.

Then suddenly we were opening a door and Stacy walked into the party to the greetings of those who saw him.  Quickly grabbing a beer he began mingling, chatting, networking, enjoying the company of friends and colleagues, once again holding court in the manner he is best known for.  There was no trace of the teacher and mentor who was on display mere moments before in a hallway providing instruction to a friend and pupil who forgot how much he needed it.

Epilogue:  While I did not get his words concerning Miriam Weeks on camera that day, Sunday he added to his work on the topic with another piece exposing the nature of the cultural left’s idolatry:

“Threatening adversity”? My 21-year-old Army son has been through basic training, infantry training, airborne training and Special Forces selection, aspiring to obtain the coveted Green Beret so that he might have the honor of facing our nation’s enemies in armed combat. Does Ayesha Adamo expect me to admire a Duke freshman as a “hero” — overcoming “threatening adversity” — for doing porn to pay her elite university tuition? A hero is, by definition, someone who exemplifies virtues that we wish to encourage others to emulate. If hiring out her vagina for commercial display makes Miriam Weeks a “hero,” doesn’t that term imply that we wish more 18-year-old girls would do the same?

Behold the bankruptcy of our intellectual class, who will celebrate even the most despicable depravity, if it can be used as an excuse to lecture us, to display their alleged superiority to normal people who consider pornography inherently shameful.

Yet another progressive argument not worth a sixpence bites the dust.

Update: Yes this was the party and I’m most grateful for the Pizza as all I had eaten that day was some beef jerky.

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Weekly Goal $365
12/365 dollars

It’s Monday and we are $12 dollars toward this week’s goal of $365.

We have missed our goal for two weeks in a row and as I think about my encounter with Stacy that I wrote about above the fault is entirely mine.

Without a question I need the income from this blog to pay the mortgage but as the owner of a business and not a charity it is incumbent on me to make sure that I earn your financial support based on the quality of the material we provide here, not because I happen to be short one week or the other.

I and our writers will do our best to be worthy of that support.  On that basis I ask you consider hitting DaTipJar below.

 

 

With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

The Oracle: Have they not been given?
4th Doctor: Well, that’s what I’m asking.
The Oracle: Who are you to dare question my word?
4th Doctor: Well, who do I have to be to dare question your word?

Doctor Who Underworld 1978

On occasion when I’ve been out covering stories I’d run into people who worked for something called “Patch”.

I presumed it was something along the lines of the Examiner where I wrote the occasional article being paid about 1/2 cent per hit. (No time really for that now but you never know) and didn’t really think about it one war or the other until I saw this piece by RS McCain yesterday:

excuse me also for thinking Armstrong is one of the most clueless executives in online media.

AOL’s Tim Armstrong reluctantly lets go
of Patch as shareholder pressures mount

Maybe you don’t care about this little media industry story, but it’s fascinating how the failure happened, and how Armstrong was permitted to throw away money on this pet project:

Stacy links to a NYT post titled AOL Chief’s White Whale Finally Slips His Grasp

Mr. Armstrong had a sentimental, and some would say debilitating, attachment to Patch. He helped create it in 2007 while a senior executive at Google. When he got the top job at AOL in 2009, he persuaded the company to buy it. Patch then proceeded to churn through leadership, business models and write-downs on the way to its reduced state.

The board of AOL, handpicked by Mr. Armstrong, authorized him to invest $50 million on the idea in 2010 and after that, it became a black hole for cash. By the end, it had cost an estimated $300 million. (AOL said the figure was more like $200 million.)

John Podhoretz asked the obvious question:

The Obvious answer is that he didn’t spend money advancing conservative media, As long as you avoid that your job is secure with the elite, also he didn’t spend his own money which is a common liberal theme.

Still Armstrong does have a point, there is a local market for local news but it has to be sustainable if you can’t pay the bills then you can’t do it.

I can hear the critics now: “That’s pretty big talk from a guy who won’t buy a snow blower (or a pair of boots) because he doesn’t have the scratch. Who are you to tell a guy as rich as Armstrong how to run a business?

In one respect that’s a fair point, when Mika Brzezinski & others called for a $15 hr minimum wage for flipping burgers I challenged them to open a franchise, pay that wage and make it work. So it’s fair to say: How would YOU make Patch work?

Well I have a couple of ideas, but the first thing that comes to mind is my Magnificent Seven model.

My Magnificent Seven writers are paid via my tip jar. I raised my weekly goal to cover the cost of their single weekly article.

So far the result has been mixed. I’m very pleased with the quality of the writing and I believe they make the blog better by bringing expertise on subject I might not have.

On the other hand there has been no noticeable increase in traffic yet and DaTipJar response has been irregular.  We’ve made the new goal 2 weeks out of 5 and have yet to cover the cost of the Seven in a monthly goal yet, but it’s only been one month.

That’s why my magnificent seven agreements are for 3 months. If it turns out it’s not generating the revenue to support itself, then no matter how much I like it, I can’t continue it. If it turns out it IS then it can continue and perhaps expand.

So for the benefit of Tim Armstrong let me show you how it’s done:

Introducing Da Villagers :

Hilario: The feeling I felt in my chest this morning, when I saw Calvera run away from us, that’s a feeling worth dying for. Have you ever felt something like that?

Vin: Not for a long, long time. I envy you.

The Magnificent Seven 1960

If you haven’t seen the move The Magnificent Seven it’s often forgotten that the some of the villagers fought and died beside them.  So it makes sense to me that if I have a series of hired guns writing for me I should also have some villagers writing too.

So here is the deal. There are quite a few tea party members who focus on local/state issues. I’m making inquiries to find a few who can write.

If I find a suitable one I will bring him/her on as a villager along side of my Magnificent Seven.

The terms will be the same as the seven, 250 words at .02 per word be exclusive to DaTechGuy Blog for at least 3 days, paid at the end of the month with the following exceptions:

1.  Rather than a single day you will be a floating writer with your weekly piece being on any day when there is news to write about

2.  Unlike my Magnificent Seven you are expected to write about local issues and events that would appeal to the people in this local area (central Massachusetts) preferably on a particular city.

3.  Because this is a “patch” like experiment this can’t simply be opinion, It has to be a report on an event, a town meeting or city council meeting you covered, a political event or speech, or a local news story.  I don’t mind (and frankly prefer) a conservative take but it has to be based on local events not on a general idea.

4.  Because of the floating nature I will want the post written and completed in draft rather than just scheduled so I can make sure your post doesn’t step on any others.

This like the Magnificent Seven agreement will be a three-month agreement, but you can change that in two ways:

1.  A local sponsorship:  If you find a local business willing to sponsor your posts here at $50 a month.  You can write here beyond the three months even if DaTipJar fails to cover your cost.  They will get a link on the site and a 15 sec ad on the show.  If the person is willing to pay $100 a month they will get a link on every one of your posts & you will be allowed a 2nd weekly post at the normal rates

2.  Commission:  If you can Sell a single annual ad on this site at $100 a month or more (15 sec ad plus ad rather than sponsor placement) You will get a 25% commission on said ad in addition to your normal payment per piece.  If you sell a more expensive ad we’ll talk.

If I find a suitable person we’ll increase the weekly goal by $5 and see if it works out.  If it doesn’t then it will stop.  If it does the perhaps we will bring in more locals

And THAT is how you do it Mr. Armstrong without risking millions of dollars of other people’s money, slowly and carefully.

No Charge

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Tuesday and we’re raised $97 toward our $340 weekly goal

As of today we’re also $364 shy of the pace needed make the monthly goal

10 $25 Tip jar hits will solve the 1st problem, 15 will solve the second but any hit will move us closer to both goals

Help us move downfield by hitting DaTipJar below.

We are only 59 1/4 new subscribers at $20 a month to cover both the Mortgage and the Magnificent Seven without a daily shake of DaTipJar all year.

The Breaking of the 60 subscriber barrier is a great leap but not as great as the ability to know the Mortgage & Magnificent Seven are going to be pain in full on the 1st instead of on the 30th.

Give yourself a Christmas present that will inform and entertain you 365 days a year in 2014. Subscribe below.




Lorenzo: Sometimes in the heat of passion, the little head tells the big head what to do, and the big head should think twice about what you are doing.

A Bronx Tale 1993.

The difference between the great and the good or above average is usually a matter of scale. For example any professional golfer is likely better than the general public yet the subset of those players who win a PGA event are very small and of that subset, the number who will win multiple event or reach the top 5 on the tour is an even smaller subset.

Or think of the major leagues, very few people will make the majors, fewer still will make a career of it, even fewer will be a star and for every 30 stars you might find one Manny Ramirez or Justin Verander and out of that subset you’re even less likely to find a true immortal a Bob Gibson or Ted Williams.

Writing is the same way, I’m very pleased to have broken the top 100 on the list of the top 150 conservative sites on the net but every now and then Glenn Reynolds or Robert Stacy McCain remind me of the difference between “good”, “above average” and great.

Glenn did that today with his post on Hillary Clinton:.

HILLARY’S PRE-2016 THEME WILL BE “WOMEN WHO BREAK BARRIERS.”

Well, she’ll do better with that one than with Women Who Do Well As Secretary Of State.

In 26 words Glenn perfectly expressed the fact that Hillary’s accomplishments as Secretary of State are non-existent and turned the Washington Post article into a parody of itself and did it with less words than my own Hillary Principle piece.

Stacy McCain being a mischievous sort had a different target, “the Slutwalks” in DC and discussed them at length both at the American Spectator and on his site.

In the midst of those well written articles was a piece of pure poetry perfectly expressing a basic truth of male & female relationships.

Young guys may want to control their boners, but the boner is inherently totalitarian. It’s like Hitler — he says he only wants the Sudetenland, but if you give him Sudetenland, next thing you know, he’ll take the rest of Czechoslovakia, too, and Poland after that.

Young ladies should be less like Neville Chamberlain and more like Winston Churchill: “Never give in . . . in nothing, great or small, large or petty . . . Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

And trust me: Boys have cooties.

That’s 95 words which perfectly explain male sexuality and convey the best advice to young ladies not ready for a permanent relationship that a father of daughters can give and is laugh out loud funny.

The difference between a Glenn Reynolds, a Stacy McCain and Me is the difference between a Ted Williams and a Reggie Smith, and a Pokey Reese.

I wish I wrote that line and maybe someday I’ll be skilled enough to write such lines like Glenn’s or Stacy’s on a regular basis.

Until then, I’ll tip my cap to them and keep working on my swing.