However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery Vandalized

Early this evening I received a call from one of my sources to tell me a crypt in the Sarah Jane Memorial Park Cemetery had been vandalized.

A few hours later they sent me 2 pictures of this despicable act. The crypt was completely desecrated. The working theory at the moment is that the vandal believed there may have been something of value buried in the grave.

Apparently this is not the first time this grave has been broken into.

At one time the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery was the only place in Miami that Black folks could be buried. The cemetery has also been the victim of the false rumour that Michael Jackson shot the graveyard scenes for Thriller here. However, John Landis said those scenes were shot on a Hollywood back lot.

This is one of my favourite places in Coconut Grove. I visit this beautiful cemetery almost every time I'm in West Grove and have made thousands of pictures there. In fact, it was just yesterday I posted my latest photo album of the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery on facebook. Those pictures were taken on June 17th.

I will follow up with Miami Police tomorrow, but for now my heart is broken.

Here are just a few of the pictures I've take of the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery over the years.

Caught Inside The Fox "News" Bubble . . . Again!

Nothing is more disheartening than when I look around and come to the sudden realization that I have been enveloped by a Fox "News" bubble again.

It often happens spontaneously. The awareness starts with a tingle at the nape of my neck. I could be in a line at the grocery store or, more likely, sitting on the patio of my local Starbucks, lost in my own world. First detected by the hairs on my neck, my ears pick up on this early warning system. My brain, always the last to fall into line, begins to focus on my surroundings. I become aware of the general drift of the conversation around me.

OH, NO!!! I'm inside another Fox "News" bubble!!! It makes my skin crawl. My palms feel like the nearby Florida swamp. The stream of false Fox "News" talking points turns my stomach. The longer it continues, the more I vibrate inside. Every part of my being is poised for Fight or Flight.

In the end, I always choose flight. There's no point getting into it with total strangers. That's what the Twitter machine is for.

While I've only been writing Fox "News" criticism for the past 6 years, I've been a professional writer for more than 40. I have done every kind of writing there is, 'ceptin' the greeting card. A partial list of my many tear sheets: music and film reviews; interviews with Rock Royalty and Hollywood Honchos; promotional bumf for multinational corporations; cross-media publicity campaigns; Queen's Park Correspondent and Investigative Journalist for Yorkview Magazine; and a monthly column for Toronto's Taxi News -- about life on the mean streets -- under the nom de plume Travis Bickel.

However, the experience that most informs my Fox "News" criticism is my decade as a News Writer at Citytv, the spunky, street-level operation in Toronto that became a template for news operations all across the continent. It was the first to capture and broadcast news on videotape and the first to do away with the anchor desk. The anchors actually had to know how to walk and talk in an actual newsroom.

Consequently, I was seen in households across Ontario every single workday. I never realized the power of tee vee until I was once asked for my autograph on the Queen West streetcar. I demurred, certain they were mistaking me for someone else. "No. You're that guy that sits behind David Onley on BreakfastTelevision." He got his autograph.

It's the power of tee vee news that this post wishes to explore.

A decade ago I returned to 'Merka and was shocked -- shocked I tells ya!!! -- by the Fox "News" Channel. I had never seen such -- dare I say it? -- unfair and imbalanced news in my life.

Soon afterwards, I found the movie Outfoxed. Later I discovered NewsHounds, the motto of which is "We watch Fox so you don't have to," without knowing the movie had spawned it. I became so well known on the comment threads for laughing at Glenn Beck, I was eventually hired on to write under the nom de plume Aunty Em. Since then I've turned my Fox "News" obsession into a cottage industry with posts for the Not Now Silly Newsroom and PoliticusUSA, which publishes Friday Fox Follies. When it works it's a comedic look at the network's shenanigans and tomfoolery during the week. And, I am your genial host at Fox Follies & Fallacies, a page over at the facebookery.

Wait! I lied. There is something more disheartening. It's when I look around and the Fox "News" bubble is at a family get-together and there's not a damned thing I can do about it. That members of my family are exhibiting the stupidity I write about breaks my heart. It's the same Unfair and Imbalanced Bullshit™ spouted by those who only rely on one news source, the Fox "News" source. It's instantly recognizable.

It's no coincidence that various polls show both of these things to be simultaneously true:

The best way to understand this dichotomy is to realize that being a Fox "News" Viewer is no different than belonging to a cult. Like any self-respecting cultist, the Fox "News" Viewer has been brainwashed into believing that there is only a single source of truth, and all the other ones are lyin', left leanin', pinko perversions of news operations.

When one challenges the average, brain dead Fox "News" viewer, they often shut down because they have no comeback. However, if they have any social media skills at all, they're able to cite other sites that say the same damned thing. This is the Fox "News" Echo Chamber in full effect. All these Right Wing sites are singing from the same hymnal. Hallelujah!

I always marvel at one thing: there is almost always a kernel of truth in the buttered popcorn Fox is serving to its unthinking and incurious audience. However, it's heated by the Right Wing Outrage Du Jour™ until it pops, but it's really nothing hot air, lacking all resemblance to the original.

I managed to avoid many of these self-inflicted Fox Family Food Fights™ until last year when I committed myself to a weekly family lunch. Wednesdays are reserved for Cousins' Lunch up in Boca. For reasons I don't quite understand, two of the cousins seem to feel this the perfect forum to spout every ridiculous thing they've ever heard on Fox "News."

For nearly a year I managed managed to ignore their imbecility. Having political discussions with Chicolinis is not why I go to Cousins' Lunch. I can do that at home on my computer and -- even better -- have the information at my fingertips to refute any argument. At Cousins' Lunch it was always a formless discussion, with a constantly moving targets, that was almost totally devoid of any verified facts whatsoever.

A few months back I walked away from a half-finished lunch rather than engage them as they tried to bait me into a political discussion. I told Pops I'd wait for him in the car and to call me when he was done.

A few weeks later it happened again and this time I rose to the bait, loudly and without regret.

Please understand, I prefaced my remarks with, "I don't come here to argue, but if you want to get into it, I'm more than happy to do so." Since they were more than happy to do so as well, I spent about 20 minutes shouting at them. Everyone else at the table remained silent while I chewed them out over and over again.

Infographic by Frugal Dad,
scooped from the Infographics
Archive. Click for larger view.
If they brought up something they heard in the Fox "News" Echo Chamber -- or read in their chain emails -- I'd jump on it to reveal the context missing. They'd counter by shifting the argument to something else, the Moving Target I spoke of above. I'd provide new facts, figures, and context. Then the target would move again with a false equivalency or the Outrage Du Jour, all items recognized from my hours of obsessive Fox "News" Channel watching.

I admit I was loud -- and passionate -- but I countered every stupid statement with greater context. We argued for a good 20 minutes until I finally changed the topic to Harry Nilsson, something they didn't know anything about either [which may have been their greater crime.]

Just as we were leaving, at the car door, it started up again. I mentioned a very minor point in a news story and was asked, "Did you actually see the police officer say that or did you just read somewhere that he said it? Because I no longer trust what I read, especially in the Left Wing media."

And that's when I REALLY exploded!!!

"But, you'll repeat any stupid thing you hear on Fox "News" or in those chain emails, without even knowing what it means. Fox "News" lies to you every fucking minute of every fucking day!"

But . . . Left Wing Media!

"THERE IS NO LEFT WING MEDIA!!! The New York Times is just slightly right of center. To you and Fox "News" that just feels like the far Left Wing. Five corporations own 95% of the media in this country. By definition corporations are right wing. If Socialism is on the Far Left, then Capitalism is on the Right. And, there's a whole continuum of ideology in between.

"You call what you don't like the Mainstream Media. But, Fox News *IS* the mainstream media. Fox "News" has the biggest ratings and they are way to the Right, right?"


"But, you even believe them when they say they're Fair and Balanced, even though you just admitted they are not. They lie to you every minute of every day and you're foolish enough to believe them without looking for any further context. There's one thing I will admit to you: There's always a kernel of truth in what Fox "News" tells you, but once you know the whole story. it falls apart as a talking point."

But . . . but . . . but . . .

"Don't *but* me. I've been writing Fox "News" criticism online for more  than 5 years. Use your Google."

And, I started the car and closed my door.

I felt GREAT!!! It was cathartic!!!

Now several weeks have passed. I have no desire to start arguing politics at Cousins' Lunch, but may no longer keep silent if baited.

Or, we can stick to the OTHER conversation that we have every single week that frustrates me. It's always good for 20 minutes over the course of the entire lunch, and often comes up before we've even ordered our food:

"Where do you want to eat next week?"

However, if the political discussions start up again, I still have the same choice as always: Fight or flight. At this point I'm inclined to merely point them to this blog post and go wait for Pops in the car.

What else is there to say after this post?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Desperately Seeking Spirituality ► Another Pastoral Letter

Analog writing
Dear Pastor Kenny: 

I'm not feeling terribly pastoral these days, yet it seems time for another Pastoral Letter, so here we go into the dark abyss of my soulless psyche. 

I'm starting this in longhand on the night of the Summer Solstice as I catch a breather before heading out to the Tequesta Summer Solstice Drum Circle. It's a drum circle so crowded that trying to find any kind of spirituality seems foolish.

So why, you may ask, am I going? Good question. Bad answer: I'm not entirely sure, but I have equated drum circles with serenity and the search for something pastoral, as you know. Which, if nothing else, explains why I am writing a Pastoral Letter, Ken, even if I'm not feeling it.

Recently I revealed to a drum circle buddy that I was going to the Tequesta Summer Solstice Drum Circle to see if I could find spirituality. I was surprised when they told me that they were a Nihilist, something I never would have suspected of them. I think that's one of the few philosophies I haven't tried on yet.

As an aside, I learned this morning that:
[T]he meaning of the “the shruggie” is always two, if not three- or four-, fold. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ represents nihilism, “bemused resignation,” and “a Zen-like tool to accept the chaos of universe.” It is Sisyphus in unicode. I use it at least 10 times a day.
I'm feeling more nihilistic than pastoral because of last week's church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, cradle of the racist south. I'm not feeling very pastoral because, as soon as it happened, so many people on the Right became heavily invested into denying that racism had anything to do with it, instead blaming the War on Christianity, video games, and the evil Left Wing Libruls, as opposed to the twin scourge of Racism and easily available guns in this country.

Even after Dylann Roof admitted it was a racial attack -- that he was trying to start a race war (echoes of Charlie Mason and Helter Skelter) -- Fox "News" and others were still denying the obvious. It's that denial that allows incidents like these to happen time and time again in this country.

Coming so close on the heels of Ferguson, Baltimore, McKinney, and more, the senseless slaughter of 9 innocent people -- at a Bible study class -- is simply an overt example of the pernicious racism that pumps through this country's bloodstream. It's in our DNA. It's baked in the cake with the Constitution's 3/5ths compromise. Black folk were chattel, property to be bought and sold, owned by anyone who could put up the cash at the many Slave Auctions through the south.

When slavery was outlawed -- following the Civil War -- and Reconstruction was abandoned, Jim Crow took its place. Redlining folks into ghettos, refusing home renovation loans, lower wages, worse schools, a lack of opportunity, and White Flight -- not to mention lynchings -- kept Black folk in enclaves as tightly controlled as those that existed during slavery. This as Black folk did most of the back-breaking work that built this country.

As you know, Pastor Kenny, I use these Pastoral Letters, for the most part, to kick around ideas about religion and atheism that I've had my entire life. This one will also address some of my ideas about race relations in 'Merka.

Bottom line: If there was a God, She wouldn't have allowed 9 innocent people to be slaughtered in Her house. Yeah, yeah, I know that's been said a million times before me, so many times that religionists have a ready answer for it. I forget what it is because I just think it's a bogus rationalization.

Oh, wait! I remember now. It's God's will. Got it.

I had been on the verge of tears all week following the massacre, but I totally lost it when the families of the victims started giving their impact statements at the bail hearing. Every one of them spoke about God's forgiveness and Jesus. Their capacity for forgiveness was more than my already over-wrought emotional capacity could bear.

They were forgiving Dylann Roof, but it sounded to me more like they were forgiving God for allowing it to happen in the first place. 

To me this was incomprehensible. More incomprehensible is that this fellow Jesus, by all accounts a pretty good guy, was the God of their Slave Masters. Why would anyone adopt the God of their Masters? Still more incomprehensible to me: The same Bible used by the Slave Masters to justify slavery was used by the slaves as a prediction of their eventual emancipation. They identified with the Jews and the motto "Let my people go!"

It's a tricky book that can be used by all sides to justify whatever people want. Right now it's being used to deny LGBT communities basic human rights. I'm glad you're fighting against that, Ken.

Tequesta Summer Solstice Drum Circle at sunset, June 21, 2015
The overriding reason I go to these drum circles whenever possible is because I felt an irresistible spiritual tug to it when I covered the Coconut Grove Drum Circle marching in the King Mango Strut.

Tonight I went to the Tequesta Summer Solstice Drum Circle, but I wasn't feeling all that pastoral either. I had had an intermittent stomach ache all day, that only got worse once I arrived at the park. That kept me from getting inside the rhythm, which is my comfort zone within a circle. I've yet to achieve that at Tequesta, because of how crowded the field is with 3-400 people in it. For some reason I still want to see if that's even possible.

You see, I'm still trying to figure out why I have such a visceral need to bang 2 pieces of wood together. Is this a desire on my part to replicate the human heartbeat? Or, in the alternative, am I just another case study for Dr. Oliver Sacks. While standing and watching the crowd on Sunday, I couldn't help but feel a weird kind of cultural appropriation.

When I first experienced a drum circle, at the 2013 King Mago Strut, I couldn't help but think of Kebo. Apparently Kebo was a village in Africa. It's also the name some of the original Bahamian immigrants gave the enclave that is now known colloquially as West Grove in Coconut Grove. On that day I was struck with the fact that I was standing in modern day Kebo and listening to a bunch of White folk bang on drums. I couldn't help but wonder what the ancestors buried in the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery would think of this development.

Now, I don't want to say that only Black folks have rhythm because I've heard a lot of amazing White drummers in these drum circles. What I will say is that I see very few Black folk at these drum circles. I find that interesting and worthy of note. Before I left Tequesta (at 9:30, long before the crowd would have reached its zenith) I decided to walk around the circle 3 times, which isn't easy when it's so crowded. While I did so I counted the Black folk I saw. I counted 14.

For reasons I can't even describe it didn't help make me feel pastoral.

I'm still recovering from whatever stomach bug I picked up, but am starting to feel better, Kenny. Well enough to try to organize the rest of my thoughts and finish this latest Pastoral Letter before it gets too old.

Some people see things through Rose Coloured Glasses; Since leaving Detroit I see things through Race Coloured Glasses. It may be a blessing, or a curse, but my mind almost always immediately jumps to how Race plays into whatever sitch-eee-ay-shuns I'm observing. There are many reasons for this. However, I believe it all goes back to the awakening I had when Pops lost everything in the '67 Detroit Riot.

I didn't have the words for it at the age of 15, but these were my first inklings of White Privilege and Black Rage. I've been piecing the rest of it together ever since.

Read: The Detroit Riots, Part Five
of the Unpacking My Detroit series

Ken, yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble to get your book. There's only 3 weeks before we get together next month and I wanted to have digested it before we talk about it.

It turns out A Letter to my Congregation is not one of the religious books Barnes and Noble stocks, so I had to order it, pre-pay for it, and pay an additional $3.99 shipping fee for the experience. Just for shits and giggles I told the clerk that I didn't want a book that I couldn't examine first. Couldn't they have it shipped to the store so I could make an informed decision on whether I really wanted it or not by holding it in my hand?

No. That's not something they do. But, I was given a choice. I could either buy it, or not buy it. I chose to buy it. Furthermore, I was told your book will be shipped to me anytime between a week to a month. It may not arrive before the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research, so I may not know what's between the covers before we meet again. Worse yet, how will I get it inscribed by the author?

So, I am still forced to read discern your Biblical reasoning from your posts and the book reviews I've been reading.

I have said more than once that those who believe in God have it a lot easier than the rest of us. How nice it must be, whenever one is buffeted by the injustices in life, to be able to place everything in the hands of the Lord and just go on. Even more interesting to me is that whole "Get out of hell free" card religions offer: Make a confession, do a few Hail Marys, and poof! You're good to go again with a clean slate.

An Atheist like myself has to live with the fact that I screwed up. Only I can make it right. A prayer won't fix it. Yet -- as I take a quick self-examination -- I'm not breaking any of the 10 Commandments anyway. At least none of the biggies. I don't need a book to tell me what's the right thing to do. None of us should. I don't need a promise of Heaven to do what's right.

Nor do I have to find justification in the Bible for treating people with simple dignity. That you have had to spend all those pages to say, in essence, "What would Jesus do?" seems like a waste of time and energy. That you are considered an outlier in your religion should tell you something. It tells me churches have been wrong -- about so much -- for centuries and that's not about to change in our lifetimes.

If there really was a God it would change tomorrow. She'd kick some ass and get 'er done, to quote a Redneck comedian.

My receipt: Barnes and Noble
didn't stock your book, but it still
tried to sell me books it did have.
As fresh as today's Headlines Du Jour, because it was published today, is Pastors want to create a Christian community open to all, your interview on Michigan Radio:
Ken Wilson founded Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor and served on the national board of Vineyard USA for seven years.

Then, he and co-pastor Emily Swan left Vineyard to form Blue Ocean Faith, a new church that seeks to create an evangelical Christian community in Ann Arbor that openly welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members.

Wilson says that leaving his congregation at Vineyard was difficult, but it’s a move he’s proud of.

“The denomination I was a part of rejected my move toward being fully inclusive with LGBT, and so that necessitated our starting a new church,” he says.

How many breakaway churches are needed before we reach the least common denominator?

In that interview you are making the same point as I did above before I even heard this, about the church being wrong:
Absolutely. We were wrong on interracial marriage, we were wrong on slavery, we were wrong on the full inclusion of women. For 2,000 years the church taught a very, very strict line on divorce or remarriage, where virtually no one who had a living spouse could be remarried. And this was just -- didn't square with reality.
However, we look at these previous errors of church doctrine differently. How could God let Her creation be so self-deluded? Over and over again? How do you know you've finally got it right?

Over the last 2 days we've have seen a seismic shift in our treatment of the Confederate flag in this country. Soon  the Supreme Court will hopefully rule in favour of LGBT marriage and equality. Eventually, the church will either have to embrace LGBT equality, or die. I believe it will be the latter.

Until that happens, I'm not feeling very pastoral. Maybe I can find some of that at Saturday's drum circle.

See you next month.

Your childhood friend,
Marc Slootsky

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Treacherous Double-Dealing ► Unpacking The Writer

In our last exciting episode of Unpacking The Writer, Bang The News Slowly, I revealed my part in a brand new grassroots campaign to get Harry Nilsson inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Funny story. The wheels have come off that bus, but before I tell you how, here's a reminder of what I wrote last month:
The most exciting news of the last month is the campaign to put Harry Nilsson in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Every year when the RnRHoF nominees are announced I scream, "What about Harry?" Then when I see who is finally inducted, I just shake my head in despair. This year I decided to do something about it.

Just a few days before last month's Unpacking The Writer, I fired up a facebookery called Harry Nilsson for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was only a few days later that I discovered there was a similar page started much earlier than mine. Had I known, I would have signed onto Harry Nilsson belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, started by Todd Lawrence, instead. Todd and I connected soon afterwards in IM. I assured him that I didn't consider my page competition to his and that we should cooperate for the greater good. It can't hurt that there are two such pages because we travel in different circles.

It wasn't long before Todd asked we could add Gabriel Szoke, moderator of the Harry Nilsson facebook fan page, to our IMs. Then the 3 of us started kicking around various ideas to put #HarryintheHall. None of our plans are ripe enough to be revealed, but I can assure you that they are grandiose.
That was then. This is now, just a month later.

I probably would have kept this unpleasantness on the facebookery, and far away from the Not Not Silly Newsroom, had I not woken up yesterday to find that I was reported on facebook for contravening Community Standards.

No, really!

A post of mine (a rant, to be fair) was removed from Harry Nilsson for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the page I created to help in this campaign. Some crybaby went running to facebook to whine. That's why I've reproduced it below, in case it's removed again:
I had hoped not to air this dirty laundry, but I have now been contacted by several people who appear to have had very similar experiences as I have. Therefore, it's time to go public.

 I started up this facebookery not knowing there was a similar page started before mine run by Todd Lawrence. When I discovered it, I contacted Todd and we agreed, in essence, that we would work together cooperatively and not look at the other as competition. All for ‪#‎HarryintheHall‬!!! As we strategized in IM, he asked me if we could include Gabriel Szoke, who was operating one of the Harry Nilsson facebookery pages. My attitude was, "The more, the merrier!" Anything to get #HarryintheHall.

That's when everything turned to shit. While we agreed to work cooperatively, I seemed to have the only person who understood what that means.

I don't want people to get the impression this is sour grapes, but ideas I had were rejected. That is, until either Todd or Gabriel came up with it a week later as if it was BRAND NEW. This ain't about taking credit, it's about losing a week's time in getting something done.

When I called them on it, I was told we needed to look forward, not backward. That phrase -- an insidious form of blame-dodging I've seen before -- was to come up more than once.

We agreed to agree on all actions, but suddenly emails with typos in them started going out before we had even agreed on the wording or who would be getting them. Again I was told to keep looking forward, not backward, when I mentioned that we had agreed, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I was tasked with writing a Manifesto, which I did because writing's my game. My manifesto was rejected out of hand. [I want people to understand I am *NEVER* wedded to my words. 40+ years as a professional writer has allowed me to work with any kind of editor from mild to red pencil fiends. Editing improves the product. This isn't about ego.] I was then asked to 'punch up' what I thought was an inferior and pedestrian approach as a manifesto. Eh? Oh, well. Anything to get #HarryintheHall.

So I started punching up this piece of shit. (Sorry, Todd. It was awful. At least mine took a non-pedestrian approach to the topic. It wasn't dull, tedious, and cookie cutter.)

Meanwhile, I'd continue making suggestions and Gabriel would tell me that I was stepping on his toes because he's the expert in that field (graphics, apparently). Yet, time after time my expertise as a writer -- one who has developed entire media campaigns for record companies -- who has written for all media, was rejected. Cute, eh?

F'rinstance, I said that memes can be dashed off in a minute and to prove it I fired up the Ol' Meme Maker, made one, and posted it here. Gabriel went wild in private, accusing me of jumping the gun before we *AGREED* we were ready. He made me take it down.

*AND*, he took personal offense that memes can be dashed off, because that's his field.

Again, when I brought this up I was told we are looking forward, not backward. However, once he started calling for memes on his Nilson [sic] page, he didn't seem to care how 'dashed off' they were.

I was made to feel as if my expressing an opinion in this triumvirate was totally inconvenient. More to the point my opinion seemed inconvenient to Gabriel trying to be The Point Man on everything, the one who will get the credit and be able to hobnob with celebrities.

However, even though I foolishly believed we were working cooperatively, I suspected Todd and Gabriel of talking and making decisions behind my back (but have no way to prove that). Actions kept getting made that hadn't even been discussed. That needed coordination between them.

Suddenly, and without discussion or warning, there were a bunch of folks added to the Put Harry in the Hall Google Group that we had been communicating in as a trio. At first I thought, "The more the merrier." However, just as suddenly I was deleted from the Google Group.

No one ever spoke to me about it. No one ever explained. In fact, I only discovered it for myself when I thought the group had gotten too quiet, so I went to look. If my removal was mentioned in the Google Group I would have no way of knowing, of course. However, I always suspected that I presented a threat to Gabriel grabbing all the credit for himself. I was expressing my ideas there and some of them might have been good. People may have agreed with me. Best to get rid of me quietly before I upset his applecart.

Right then and there I decided to stop punching up Todd's wishy-washy essay on Harry. HEY! I can take a fucking hint.
As I say, I wasn't sure I wanted to go public with this, but this morning I received the following IM from someone I have known online for DECADES:
QUOTE: Hi Headly. Quick heads-up to be very careful of Gabriel Stoke and his supposed Nilsson promoting group...he is only interested in self promotion and is ousting any of us who have tried to promote Harry on the Internet. .. He booted Roger Smith earlier and when I messaged him to suggest that was not a good thing to do he booted me and has blocked me from his group.... ENDQUOTE
He booted Roger Smith? He booted the man who has had a Harry Nilsson tribute website longer than than anyone else in the entire world? That Roger Smith? Hoo boy!!!
However, I discovered, much to my regret, exactly the same thing.

I will be the next person blocked because of this post. However, I thought I had a duty to those people I had already talked to privately about [SPOILER ALERT!!!] helping to mount concerts ALL AROUND THE WORLD on Harry's 75th Birthday. [But, I bet Gabriel wants to take all the credit for that, too.] There had already been progress on Toronto and Detroit shows and I had started putting out feelers for a show here in Florida. Whether those will go forward or not remain to be seen.

Yesterday's 74th birthday celebration left a very bad taste in my mouth. I went from being very excited to be on the ground floor of something that appeared to have enough momentum to achieve its goals, to being turned into a passive bystander by two self-aggrandizing jerks, who are only out for themselves. I can remain passive no more.

Apologies for the drama, folks. Anyone who wishes to contact me privately to tell me of their trials and tribulations will be welcomed. Maybe I'll turn it into a blog post, or a book.
If facebook is going to take my stuff down, I'll post it here where it will not only stay, but will get even more eyeballs than where it had been. Congratulations, whomever reported me to facebook.

Meanwhile, what else is going on in this writer's world this month?

The excitement builds as I am less than a month away from the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research. There's still time to sign up if you want to get the full Aunty Em Experience.

This year, so far, I have tentative stops on the northbound leg planned for the Black History Museum in Macon, Georgia; Centerville, Ohio, "a real nice place to raise your kids up"; and Columbus, Ohio, which I was forced to skip last year due to a family issue.

I have more tentative stops scheduled for the southbound trek: Elyria, Ohio, to tour the new Elyria Art Depot; Akron, Ohio, where I will be taken on a tour of people and places important to Jim Bloor (to whom this road trip is lovingly dedicated); Steubenville, Ohio, where I will walk in the footsteps of Dean Martin, with whom I share a birthday; Wheeling, West Virgina, for a much needed coffee; Morgantown, West Virginia, the site of last year's A Tribute to Don Knotts ► Morgantown's Favourite Son; The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, Ohio; St. Augustine, Florida, just because it's so old and so beautiful; and, lastly, Oviedo, Florida, before arriving home.

As of now, and subject to change, my trip will take 16 days, 5 hours, and 2 minutes (according to Microsoft Streets and Trips, a program no longer available) and I will have traveled 3063 miles, not accounting for side trips for sight-seeing. 

I wish I were leaving right now.

Closer to home, I have been rethinking the entire Headlines Du Jour column. 

I had been aggregating these headlines 3 days a week: Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. However, the last month I've had to skip it a few times because of other commitments.

I've been compiling Headlines Du Jour for several years now, but it's become something of a trap. It takes, on average, 2 hours to format the headlines I've collected since the last time. It takes even longer if I've been too busy to collect headlines before aggregating them.

To be perfectly honest, I'm bored with it.

I'll continue with Headlines Du Jour until I leave for the 3rd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research, when it would have gone on a natural hiatus.

Whether it returns, or not, remains to be seen. I haven't given up on it entirely. However, if I continue to compile the Headlines Du Jour, I'll need a way to invigorate it. Feel free to send your suggestions.

As the Not Now Silly Head Writer I've been given a unique experience. Several of the candidates in Miami's District 2 race have been talking to me OFF THE RECORD, everything embargoed until after the election. I'm hoping it will coalesce into a series of BEHIND THE SCENES stories about this election, which will be Miami's most contentious.

As well, I have been going along with them on door knocks. The ground rules are that any conversation with voters is ON THE RECORD, but the stroll and chats are OFF THE RECORD.

Here's what I can report: Almost everyone wants to talk about the current Miami District 2 Commissioner, [allegedly] corrupt Marc D. Sarnoff. The voters bring up his name before the candidates do. Which makes this a good time to remind readers about ABT -- Anybody But Teresa, a little facebookery I fired up. It's dedicated to making fun of the idea that [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff thinks he can buy and bully a commission seat for his wife, who has never shown any interest in city politics in the past 30 years.

Lastly, at least for this month, I have a number of posts half finished, for which I am waiting for callbacks, or am still researching the topics. If I finish them all, I'll be very busy in the next 3 weeks, before I leave for my road trip.

Next month's Unpacking the Writer will come from the road if I find the time.

Headlines Du Jour ► Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hey there, Headliners! Today's birthday belongs to composer Lalo Schifrin, who wrote a number of movie and tee vee theme songs. Here are some other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:
















Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.