Good Housekeeping: Magic Dancing, Show Lists and Super Sunday’s Best

Imma do something I don’t believe I’ve ever done here on Sorryless and put Tuesday to its proper use with some housekeeping.

As you know, me and Dale had a great deal of fun with our Rushmore Series. And as so often happens, from that idea came others. This past Sunday, I might have hit on one of those others. It was supposed to be a stand alone post about a girl named Liz from Magic Dance. And then Dale asked if perhaps this might become a series. And so of course it got my mind working overtime. And speaking of overtime, with apologies to the re-worked 5-9 side hustle musical spill that made the scene this weekend, it only made me go looking for the first and best original song. Love that Dolly.

Anyways, yeah . . more Rushmore references. Go Dolly!

As for the official title of the Sunday series, I think Imma go with Magic Dance. It has legs to stretch in the form of a weekly jaunt, but please don’t ask me where it leads because the truth is, I’m only halfway through my second installment. But I have plenty of ideas jotted down, so stay tuned.

I’m always happy to take any suggestions you guys throw my way for a Friday shout out on Heroes. You can send them to my email or just put them in the comments. Either way works for me, and I’ll go read up on what you gift me. And as always, mochas gracias to you all for making Fridays such a fun place to be.

So . . Heroes on Fridays and Magic Dance on Sundays. Which leaves my Tuesdays open to whatever I feel like making ’em. And now that my blog housekeeping is out of the way, how’s about a short list of shows I dig on, with a couple that I really don’t? Sure why not . . .

The Wire- I finished this one a short while ago and I miss it every day since. Back in the day, a friend proclaimed this to be the best show on TV. Like ever. I shrugged it off as mere hype . . until now. Let’s just say it’s on my short list of favorite shows I’ve ever watched.

Hollywood- This mini-series on Netflix might be the worst show I’ve ever tuned in to. If given the choice of being water boarded or having to watch a full season (I think we lasted two episodes?), Imma drink up.

Cheers- I went back last year and watched the full series, seeing as how I had dropped the habit after like five seasons back in the day. I find it to be one of the best shows ever made. The setting belies all the many issues it took on, without being preachy in the least.

The Office- If 2020 was good for anything, it was binge watching shows I’d lost touch with back in the day. It’s pure genius, but I doubt it would pass muster in these overly sensitive times.

The Boys- I dug the first season, so I was excited to hear they were coming back. And then I lasted exactly one episode of Season 2. Meh. Maybe I’ll venture back to see if I was wrong about this.

Mr Robot- This one is strange. I loved the first three seasons, but after tuning into the first episode of the fourth and final season, I was less than impressed. As with The Boys, maybe I’ll tune in to see if it was simply a slow start.

Queens Gambit- Anya Taylor-Joy is why I got hooked on this story about a chess prodigy. It’s one thing to play a character who’s off their rocker and it’s a completely different thing to play a character who harnesses that rage, keeping it just below the surface. Taylor-Joy’s performance carries the day. And it got me playing chess again, so there’s that.

Reckoning- Ugh. That’s it . . just ugh.

Flack- My favorite new show of 2021. It joins Dead to MeGoliath and The Politician as the show I look forward to. Smart and fast moving dialogue, scenarios that make you go “Damn that’s wrong!” and a sexy ensemble? What is NOT to love?

As for Super Sunday’s best? My cats Jack and Wednesday got off to a dubious start by picking the Chiefs. Somewhere in the heavens, Mr. Speaker is shaking his head in disgust, seeing as he was 6-1 in Super Bowl picks. Regarding the game itself, we got Brady moving to Florida not to retire but to win another Super Bowl. And maybe it didn’t hurt nearly as much as the other ones because New England was watching right along with us Dolphins fans. But while Mahomes suffered his worst defeat as a pro (which is unbelievable in its own right seeing as he’s been in the league three years), he makes Caravaggio out of broken plays like few others ever could.

I tuned in to the second half with my frosty sidekick and some personal pan nachos, and so I missed the halftime show and most of the commercials. Of the ones I did catch, The Boss won my vote for the time being with his way back Jack Kerouac.

As for next year’s Super Bowl prediction? I have that other Florida team, the Miami Dolphins taking on the Matthew Stafford led Los Angeles Rams, who become the second straight team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. The road team Dolphins pull it out with a field goal at the gun 33-31. After which Robert Kraft moves the Patriots to the Sunshine State in a last ditch attempt to break their Super Bowl-less streak at three.

On Life After Blogging

Embed from Getty Images

 

A Frank Angle was my little corner of the world for 11+ years – a place that was my pride and joy – a place where I met many kind people from all over the world – and some of those would develop into wonderful cyber-friendships. In early Fall 2019, I announced I would end the run – then in early February 2020, and after an orchestrated departure, I posted for the last time. Time has told me that I need to bend your ear a little about that time and the time that followed. Maybe this is my way of saying I still feel it.

To say the period around the closing was very emotional would be an understatement. The combination of tears and pride was more than I ever imagined. Words cannot describe my appreciation for the kindness showered upon me. So much so, I feel it still today.

The way I closed turned out to be important and confirmed what I believed at the time. When ending a blog, closure is important for both the readers and the host. My readers respected me and were sad to see me go, but they understood. In my eyes, I owed them closure. Although I can’t speak for the readers, my gut says my plan succeeded.

I also needed closure. In a way, I looked at it as a funeral – but not one of sadness, but one of a celebration of life. Besides being emotional, the ending series was also fun. Several days later, a sense of calm and relief came upon me. Yes, I had no worries of visiting or writing to my self-imposed deadlines and visits while being proud of my accomplishments.

My readers gave me a sense of worth, pride, and accomplishment – a feeling that I won’t forget – so I visited many of them shortly thereafter. Not for every post, but enough to show my respect and appreciation for them.

If you ever close a blog, readers will want to know if the blog will remain visible, I chose to, but also understand taking it down. However, I think back to another blog who suddenly announced her last post, then it was gone. She provided no closure for me or her most-loyal readers – let alone a vanishing cyber-footprint.

Since then, my life has been interesting. By being released from my self-imposed obligation of visiting others from my shoulders, I began to relax from blogging while still snooping around. I still visited others, but it was on my terms.

By mid-March, life with COVID-19 changed everyone’s life. For me, no more blog to maintain – no ballroom dance – no handbell choir – no dinner with friends – no working at the golf course – no volunteer ushering at plays – no evenings at a restaurant. Life focused on walking several times a day and watching streaming services – but the writing was still important to me.

In the final post, and to the surprise of many, I mentioned the possibility of a new blog – Beach Walk Reflections. COVID-19 allowed me to write – and that I did. With 71 beach walks in the archives at A Frank Angle, I decided to rewrite all 71 of them. After all, the walks had evolved, so the earliest walks needed a lot of work. Plus, I already had prepared notes for many other walks, so I started the draft process on about another 50 walks. So during the first few months of the pandemic, I wrote. I guess that means I still feel it.

By late April, my golf course duties returned. Surprisingly, the golf business has been booming! Ballroom, handbells, ushering, and more are still in limbo. Summer remains a time for the outdoors, so my wife and I walk, golf, and play pickleball. We still watch our share of streaming shows. Therefore, my writing time decreased – and so did my blog visits. However, I’m still on target for a possible fall return to WordPress.

Because our travel plans vanished, we treated ourselves with some new items for our home – so I spent a lot of time researching online.  Life remains simple while limiting our normal social circles. This new normal sucks, but I accept my responsibilities in this pandemic.

I’ve written several posts as a guest blogger for Marc here at Sorryless – which is a good thing. He is also the reason why I approached him with this post. Plus, it’s been an opportunity to stay in touch with some good people. Then again, I feel it still.

In this post, I wanted to share some aspects of closing a blog, as well as providing an update of my life. Closing a blog is a personal decision, but I want bloggers to know what I did and experienced. I’m sure I could have written more, but I did this from memory – not notes. Although that may not be for everyone, there is something in this post for all bloggers. Besides, I feel it still.

Matters of Little Consequence

I think God created blogging when he had nothing else to talk about.

I had to admit Dan had gone bulls-eye with his little idea. The 800lb Gorilla was chugging along on nicotine, friendly drinks and unsympathetic satire that offered no quarter for sacred cows. The blogosphere had plugged me into a tantric remedy in which I was writing practically every day. Shop hours would vary depending on the day ahead. Sometimes I would go for an early morning run and then post something before heading out. On other days I would regale in the simple comfit fixtures of a laptop and a well armed Martini after hours. It was Zen capture inside the tear drops of a clock whose purpose now seemed to dovetail its method into my madness.

I was enjoying myself immensely, in spite of the detours that would crop up now that our elbow bending riffs were being held in a virtual forum. Like the time Dan called to tell me Google had taken a shit on our Blogger platform and he had moved us over to a place called WordPress. But just like all the other bumps in the road, this one proved to be quite fortuitous. Because whereas our former website behaved like a rural dirt road, the new digs were akin to an eight lane highway.

Everything was coming back peach as summer moved into fall. My kids were feeling good about how life was looking on the other side of the split. My soon to be ex-wife had met a man on a dating site and things were promising. And I had met a nice girl inside the same week, on the same site as the ex-wife and things were promising as well. For a couple months. After which I got back to dating and black book research.

As far as writing was concerned, I had unlocked a parallel of myself to which had always been a mystery before this time. It was a quicksilver reckoning in which my creative bones were shaking loose, as if pole vaulting over thunderheads.

We’re gonna need a bigger boat

December 12th, 2006 is when push came to shove. It was some time in the middle of the night when Dan posted what would launch the Gorilla from obscurity into a grass roots movement that would end up getting play in a couple online magazines and local radio shows.

It was later that morning, I was doing a supply run when my phone came to life. It was Dan.

“Dude, you checking this shit out?”

“What shit?”

“The blog!”

“Oh, yeah . . the shot of Britney’s front yard. You know what you sonofabitch, next time give me a heads up when you post some shit like that,”

“Sorry to offend your delicate senses,”

“Dan, my daughter listens to Britney, okay? I don’t need to see her business is all I’m saying. I prefer to keep her in my sexy little Smurf collection where anatomy doesn’t exist. And where did you find that pic?”

“I hit on a website when I was surfing around last night for something to write about. We were one of the first sites to put it up,”

“Wow, I always wanted to run a porn site. I guess the degenerate blue ribbon goes to us, huh?”

“Marc, you see the hits?”

“I don’t look at hits, I look at writing. I’m the insufferable artist and you’re the soulless networking prick, remember?”

“We’re at 2,900 hits so far . . . I think we could hit 10 grand,”

“Jesus Christ, that Federline douchebag was right! She does have a magical vagina!” I exclaimed before I realized I was talking out loud in the middle of Staples.

“This is our hanging curve ball, it’s how we’re gonna get known for all the writing we’ve been doing in the dark,”

“As if Hemingway isn’t dead enough,” I whined.

“We have the eyeballs now is how I look at it. And I’ll tell you what man, we’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Dan said before we hung up.

This should have been cause for celebration. But whereas Dan was sewing this latest turn of events into a Matterhorn applique, I was dubious. For fuck’s sake, we’d been writing our asses to the tune of a couple stray comments here and there; so stray were these comments that we should’ve tested them for rabies. It was that kind of virtual desert island shit. And that was fine by me, because the writing was keeping me upright.

If writing truly mattered, how was it that I could write madly for a year and elicit nothing more than a yawn? Meanwhile, Britney simply had to play 21 Jump Street with a mini-skirt to clobber the fuck out of me. I was thinking too hard, and I knew this. Dan was right. Eyeballs were the bottom line to any kind of future for the site, and now we had them. It was time to put on my big boy swimming trunks and pray at the altar of Mary Shelly.

We were looking straight into the eye of a storm, even if we didn’t know it yet.

Tuesday Time Machine: From the Archives

Imma go with a blast from the past post for this Tuesday morning. It’s eight hundred pounds worth of sick puppy humor. Culled from the whine cellar of a blog whose mission statement was inspired by the late, great Robin Williams. “If they can’t take a fuck, joke ’em!”.

Monday February 4, 2008 will forever after be known as Black Monday to New England Patriots fans, following their stunning defeat at the hands of the New York Giants; a loss that prevented the Pats from going 19-0.

Also of note . . . Illinois Senator Barack Obama had taken the early lead in the democratic primaries heading into Super Tuesday. Many prognosticators at the time felt this was where Hilary was going to close the deficit and set the pace for the rest of primary season . . The stock market was struggling to steady itself after cratering to news of a possible recession . . and Iran fired a rocket into space. Shockingly, Salman Rushdie was not on board.

With all that news going on, I went with a YouTube video titled “Bird Poops in Mouth”. Because sometimes you find the story, and sometimes the story finds you. Sit back and enjoy this twenty second tutorial on what not to do when bird watching. The original title I affixed to this post was Birdie Bukakke Theater.

Classy.

Some thoughts on the matter:

  • Why didn’t this ever happen to Geraldo?
  • They don’t call it “Action News” for nothing.
  • NEVER open your mouth when looking up to find the bird that left a deposit on you.
  • The Canadian Brown Finch . . . Canada’s Answer To An Air Force.
  • Being a bird means never having to apologize for coming in someone’s mouth.
  • If I were this reporter, I’d turn down the mall shooting stories.
  • Finally, an answer to Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Light” lyrics! It goes …blinded by my mike, wrapped up in a deuce, you better feed me with a sprite! . . .
  • Hey, whatever happened to Manfred Mann?
  • And his hat?
  • This kind of thing never would’ve happened to Manfred . . . cause of the hat.
  • In Thailand, American businessmen pay top dollar to have this done to them. I’ve heard stories . . .
  • If that had been Ryan Seacrest, he wouldn’t have missed a beat.
  • You just know this guy’s nickname in the newsroom is going to be Walter Windshield.
  • If this guy would’ve needed CPR, he would’ve been screwed.
  • The worst part? That wasn’t a brown finch in that tree. Al Gore was bird watching.
  • The award for best performance by a supporting actor goes to,” all those guys on the crew who didn’t crack up.
  • Left unsaid: Canadian Brown Finch tastes exactly like chicken shit.

Sorryless Sunday Morning

I am proclaiming this Sunday to be the intermezzo of my Woodstock series of posts. So in lieu of flower power, Imma post the first in a brand new series that will show up on the regular once I’m finished spilling on my three days of peace and music in the Catskills with the lovely Q.

I used to do a “Sunday Morning Coffee Love” post on my old blog. I don’t want to steal that title, so I came up with Sorryless Sunday Morning because it had a Lionel Richie groove to it. I may change up that title in future posts, but the vibe will remain the same.

Sorryless Sunday Morning posts will feature blog shout outs, quick hits on whatever is dancing in ‘me noggin and a music video that brings the requisite chill to my Sunday morning. I hope you enjoy.

  • My son’s first week of teaching is in the books and it frazzled him. He’s in that new teacher zone where he’s gonna have to learn his rhythm. As with anything else an individual does that is worth doing, he’ll figure it out. A shout out to Frank at A Frank Angle for dishing up some pieces he wrote on teaching for me to give to my son. Frank is a scholar and a gentleman, and I’m blessed to call him my blog neighbor.
  • Speaking of blessed, the lovely Q wrote a beautiful piece at A Dalectable Life about love and friendship- and how it endures. Later on, we had a rather involved discussion about writing and published works, to which I’ve been stewing on ever since. I feel sometimes that I am hopeless in my take on the matter, so her nudging means more than she will ever know.
  • As for published authors, John Howell at Fiction Favorites is back in the lineup after his surgery a couple weeks ago. He’s the Mike Trout of the blogosphere in that he comes to play (write) every single day, and he brings it. Whether he’s writing his weekly mystery series, a prompt challenge or his haiku . . he engages you with his wit and his clever wordplay. Blog life is always sweet when he’s in the room.
  • As far as good tunes go, tune into Tara’s sizzle over at Daisy Smiley Face if you’re looking to vibe on some musical goodness. Tara operates on the same wavelength as yours truly as far as her musical tastes go, but every once in a while she’ll introduce a singer or group I’ve not heard of. And it’s always a slam dunk.
  • And to round out my top five blog shout outs for this week, Imma mention a chica who tells terrific tales about tails. Monika at Tails Around the Ranch also speaks gardening and Colorado and hockey, fluently. And she just started up a new online business called Sam’s K9 Kreations, so make sure to check it out!

As for my quick hit thoughts? I gots a few . . . .

  • I’m cutting ties with Walking Dead after this coming season. Like the old Carole King song goes, the feeling has died (for me) and I just can’t hide, and I won’t fake it.
  • Urban Meyer has been exposed for the phony he is, but winning will prove to be the deodorant of his odorous tenure. So here’s hoping he gets a clue before someone else becomes a victim.
  • One of my favorite Clint Eastwood lines, in an endless sea of ’em . . .
  • Jacob DeGrom of the Mets probably ain’t winning the Cy Young, but I happen to think he’s the best pitcher going this season. And if I’m a Mets fan, I’m pissed that ownership is wasting his immense talent.
  • In response to the peeps who call him overpaid, Raiders coach Jon Gruden threw shade at Tom Cruise; basically saying that no one complains about how much Cruise makes in a movie. Well . .having just seen the latest installment of Mission Impossible, I can tell you that Cruise is the only thing that drew me to the franchise. And if I’m laying down money, Imma go with Cruise over Gruden . . every day, and yes, twice on Sunday.
  • Going to see Crazy Rich Asians with the girl. Yes, the rumors are true. I am all about the rom-com.
  • Going to see The Nun when it comes out in a couple weeks. And no, the rumors are not true. I will not be wearing diapers. I also won’t drink any beverages beforehand . . .
  • I don’t think peeps understand that impeachment does not mean the removal of the President.
  • Braciole, like my lechon, is a dish best served in variations. The stand alone opening night dish is pure gumba-licious. The next day sammy is slamming. And every day thereafter . . it’s the dish that keeps on giving.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Sunday. Be sure to tune in next week for my next installment in the Woodstock series. Have a wonderful Sunday, and an even better week.

Peace, love and music

To err is human, to blog is . . even more human

I was recently asked by a friend what this whole blogging business is about. I replied with something to the effect of it being a place where I can write whatever the hell I feel like writing whenever the hell I feel like writing it.

This dude is way more social media savvy than yours truly, and yet, the blogosphere pretty much escaped him. And he ain’t alone. In spite of the fact that every news agency worth its circulation has its mitts in blogging to some extent, along with most major celebrities and a shit ton of brand businesses, blogs remain a curiosity.

I’ve listed a few reasons for this, completely unsubstantiated and totally unverifiable. Which makes me overqualified for a cable news position.

1. Fucking People- We have something like 7.5 billion people who call planet earth home. Way too many fucking people. Especially when you consider that only a couple hundred million of ’em are blogging. Imagine a banquet facility that can seat 750 people and then imagine a small table in the corner. The blogosphere would be the waiter who serves that table.

2. Content- This blog post is the perfect example of what my friend Bill likes to call “fluff”. In a newspaper article, I wouldn’t be able to say shit like “Fuck Wolf Blitzer’s talking beard,” and “Grade A Kardashian Ass!”. But on my blog, I can say whatever in the blessed fuck I want to say. This freedom is both defining and problematic. As I’ll explain . . .

3. Perspective- This freedom is defining in that blogs are living, breathing platforms for the freedoms we hold truest. But the very thing that makes it great, also mitigates its strength. The vast majority of the world ain’t blogging, and in a great many instances, this is because they’ve got more pressing matters to attend to. Like finding food, water and shelter. Their stories would be fascinating reads if they weren’t so preoccupied with remaining upright to tell ’em. Instead, we get Bill’s search for the perfect Reuben, and Jane’s “fat day”, and “How to order at Applebees”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s great content on here. But the reputation still precedes . .

4. Elliot Gould- Okay, I can’t blame Gould. It was his character (Dr. Ian Sussman) in the crap film Contagion who threw the entire blogosphere under the bus with a single line-  “A blog is not writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation,”. It’s the only memorable line to come out of that flick and it spawned more shade than E.L. James.

5. The Term- What in the blessed fig of Newton’s apple were the creators thinking when they had the gravitas to coin the term “weblog” and then condense it into “blog”? Its economy ain’t a sexy looking thing. There’s zero romance to the word. Which isn’t to say you have to be sexy sounding to be appealing, but still. A ‘blog’ sounds like something you contract when eating shellfish. If I didn’t know anything about it, I wouldn’t want to know anything about it.

Add in the fact that other social media platforms (most notably Facebook) get lumped in with the term ‘blogging’, causing even further confusion. And speaking of confusion . . shit, I’ve had blogs on and off for more than a decade and even get confused as fuck when someone says they wrote a blog. Some peeps use blog as a verb, for whatever the hell reason. As far as I’m concerned, this ain’t helping matters any, if a blogger doesn’t even know how to describe the shit they’re putting out there. Woodward and Bernstein weren’t like “Yo peeps! We wrote a Washington Post about this Dick in the White House!”. Credibility comes with being consistent. Reference the New England Patriots . . Amazon . . a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

All that said, I think I’ll stick it out on WordPress for a while longer. It’s the only social media site I truly believe in, and I still dig the efficacy of having a blog. No deadlines and no rules. Just writing, whatever I wish.

The hell with Dr. Sussman.

 

 

We sing to the find the beauty, we fight to find the song

I wrote this in a comment on another blog recently. I decided to jot it down because it was speaking to me, rather loudly. Sometimes I push the words, and sometimes the words push me. These ones made themselves known across a fleeting precipice of my imagination meeting up with my thoughts and starting a fire.

When you think about it, this whole writing thing is such a tenuous matter. The nuance of what goes into a piece and what should be removed would seem, on the face of it, to be akin to tooling around under the hood- just a matter of nuts and bolts and gaskets. Except, writing is sort of like tooling around under the hood and somehow building a Hemi that is capable of space travel.

This line I wrote left me ponderous. This line whose particular sentiment can be easily explained as an emotional response to a post I was reading about the tragedy in Florida last week. And so, okay . . that’s the why of it, but that can’t explain the how of it. How is it that those words showed up in that particular moment? That’s what turns me on.

A writer’s brain feasts on the scrabble, never knowing what they might gather from the voices in their heads. Our imaginations are a natural disaster of the real and the unreal, the known and the unknown, the here and now and the never was. And from this feast we cull and carve and oftentimes, cry.

I like to think we’re communicating with the cosmos when we feast on the scrabble and make sense of the voices and sublime our imaginations. We step inside whole new worlds without ever leaving our feet. And sometimes we find a simple line that makes us wonder aloud. The song and the fight, all wrapped up in this beautiful mystery.

The not knowing is what’s lovely.