December 06, 2009

spreading the need around

If you have some spare change (or more), can you help Brenda out?

Brenda has been our waitress at Waffle House on Frey Road for the last 3 years. She is a wonderful woman who makes due on modest means. In addition to working at Waffle House, Brenda takes care of her mom, who has Leukemia and Diabetes.

When Brenda had a serious car accident a couple of weeks ago, their lives changed dramatically. She has no health insurance and no savings aside for this kind of disaster. She cannot get medical aid because she has no minor children at home. Brenda and her mother can no longer make ends meet.

Contributions from Waffle House patrons and staff paid Brenda's rent this month. Her fellow waitresses have pooled enough money for December's electric bill. Other than that, they have nothing, and she doesn't even know if she'll be able to go back to work doing what she does because one of her feet was crushed in the accident.

Current needs are:

$350/month - monthly rent
$800 - to get her car and possessions out of impound
$150 - utilities
$-Sky's The Limit-$ - medical expenses

THANK YOU for any help you can give!!!!

November 11, 2009

Getting Loss, Courtesy of Google Maps.

View Larger Map


Not the cards
crafted by stubby kindergarten
thumbs, shamrocks and elves
remember the day
get well soon!
and see you monday

Not the bus ride home,
Not the brown paper sack
of St. Patrick's Day cheer
clenched like treasure in
one hand, the
star of the show
I take them
home to my sick father

Not the climb up the stairs
heels whisking
two steps at a time.

Not the "I have something for him,"
met on the top step to keep
me from the bedroom
can't reach the door to push it open.

Not the slow walk to my room

Not the talk on my bed
Jesus God in Heaven
Not the no crying, the knowing.

Not the Edge of Night slicing
mid-day silence as I pick my fingers,
think about where they have taken "him."

None of that, no.

It is something less, the absence of,
the wrinkles in crisp bedsheets
missing his form,
the tautness of the groove
that hugged us there
"What's on tv?"

It is the first time I see the open
so-stark-sun remembering,
caresses the antique poster bed
windows lifted to sanitize,
and the March wind
reminds me I am alive.
He is not.

It is the empty bed.

November 03, 2009

Allied Turns 8, And Bingo Was His Name-O.

Remember when blogs were where we hid our inside jokes? Long-winded jokesters and jesters swapping pixel spit. Word of click, her to him to me, the organization having no idea where we were or what we were up to.

Since 2001, they've followed the bread crumbs, and they're here with us, and that's a good thing. They're on blogs, on facebook, on twitter. We told them to get a clue, and they did. Careful what you ask for.

The mixed company of bosses and bossees is no place for inside jokes, so email becomes the new blog, and we share our inside jokes and happy Web findings the new old-fashioned way, five or six cc:s at a time. Everything old is new again, the music goes round and round...

And Bingo was his name-o.

As the Class of 2001 (kevin, denise, frank, gary, mike, tom michael, who are we all again?) enters its 9th year of blogging, thanks to the call of our Gonzo Leader, the Karma to our Dogma, Rageboy, we keep plugging along, a post here and there, not like it was before, but not unlike it's ever been.

This is the email that started a band of merry goobers on the road to spewing more what-would-come-to-be-known-as-content across the Web than was ever really necessary.

Gonzo Marketing: Winning through Worst Practices

"Do you remember a guy that's been
In such an early song?
I've heard a rumor from Ground Control.
Oh no, don't say its true.
They got a message from the Action Man..."

bowie - ashes to ashes - scary monsters

Valued Readers:

OK, enough is enough. This sedentary lifestyle is killing me. Time to
shake shit up again. Time for a little web action! Remember when we
just about brought down If you've been on the EGR list
long enough, you do. The CFO sent me mail saying, "Who are you and why
are you doing this to us?" Or, just this year, how we, uh... sort of
"reorganized" Amazon's listmania lists? As a result, the following
query now yields over 900 hits.

So here's the deal. I promised The Guardian...

...that I'd write an article on weblogs. In fact, I promised its
computer editor, Jack Schofield, who's been on the EGR list forever
(sorry to out you here, old man; can't be helped). Problem is though:
what can you say about weblogs that isn't so vague and general that
it's hardly worth saying? Or worse, that hasn't already been said.
Better. By somebody else. Here's a good example.

weblogs: a history and perspective

Actually, what interests me most about weblogs is (you should forgive
the expression), memic propagation and amplification. And if there's
one thing that EGR (and by extension, or implosion, or somesuch, RB)
gets off on, it's... that's right, you guessed it: memic propagation
and amplification.

For this article, I spent most of yesterday (have to say Monday now, I
guess) talking to Dave Winer of (and so much else; who can
keep track?), and Ev Williams of Blogger, and Doc Searls of... well,
the now-infamous Doc Searls weblog. Doc doesn't call it memic
propagation, which yeah, I admit, sound like some Media Lab hack on
bad meth. He calls it "blogrolling." Coined the term, he did. The
analogy being to this American Heritage Dictionary definition:

logrolling - n.

The exchanging of political favors, especially the trading of
influence or votes among legislators to achieve passage of projects
that are of interest to one another. I've never done good things.

The exchanging of favors or praise, as among artists, critics, or
academics. I've never done bad things.

[From the early American practice of neighbors gathering to help
clear land by rolling off and burning felled timber. I never did
anything out of the blue.]

You know: your basic influence peddling comes to the web. When you go
to Doc's blog (which you'll see in just a second if you follow the
simple directions coming up any second now), you'll see what he means
by blogrolling. I've adopted this convention -- as have about 100,000
other bloggers -- on the All-New-Chapter-11-Dot.Com-Memorial-Redesign

The EGR Weblog

First note the DAYPOP search box (thanks and a tip o' the hat to Eric
Norlin; q.v. in the URL above). We'll come back to this presently.

Then note that Doc's site is at the top of the blogroll in the left
column. Place of honor cause he shamed me into this. Long story.
Anyway, click on that link and check his page. But come back here, you
know. Don't get mindlessly surfing around. We got work to do -- the
end result of which will put you on my list of bloggers. Maybe we need
to get procedural about this. Yeah, good idea. So here's whatcha do...

1) If you don't already have a weblog (and you want one), go hook
yourself up at:


...or at any of Dave Winer's myriad make-yerself-a-weblog
options. Here's a particularly powerful one -- which I'm still
trying to figure out:

Radio UserLand

Better still, if you have a 12-year-old kid, ask the kid.

2) Register your weblog with DAYPOP by going here:

3) VERY IMPORTANT: add "RageBoy" (not that slimy fuck clocke) to
your main weblog page. Link him to the EGR blogger. You can use
something like this:


4) Send me the URL of your weblog showing evidence of #3, along
with three boxtops from any breakfast cereal made in Battle
Creek Michigan, and I will...

5) Stick your site on the EGR weblog honor roll.

That's blogrolling BIGTIME! Tell your friends too. Any number can
play! If the EGR Irregulars come through on this one, you should be
able to go back in a few days to...

...hit the default DAYPOP search (i.e., RageBoy), and see how many
hits we got. Yeah: WE. Because, if you follow these directions
carefully and nothing screws up anywhere along this convoluted Rube
Goldberg maze of twisty little passages, you'll see...


Then, because I'll also write this little caper up for The Guardian,
so will lots of *Limeys* see Your Name In Lights! (If you are a Limey
already, please take no offense; this is the way you *have to* talk to
Americans if you want to get anywhere with them. Trust me.)

So see? This way, we'll have produced a lovely little demonstration of
memic propagation for the whole world to marvel at, and we can all win
one for the Gipper. Even though there is no meme. And no Gipper, for
that matter. Which makes it a sort of empty-zen-hacker-bodhisattva
thing. One flash of light. Senseless beauty. Random acts of kindness.
You know the drill.

Of course, to be brutally honest, I'll get even more fucking famous in
the process, and sell a whole shitload more books. But that's OK,
right? You don't mind, do you? All for the best, really, isn't it?

I'm happy. Hope you're happy too...

Major Thom

to subscribe or UNSUBSCRIBE - c'mon Bunky, you can figure it out if
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Suitable for framing, non?

Happy birthday blog brothers and sisters, keep the blogfires burning.

September 27, 2009

On Wednesday My Baby Turns 12

It's hard to believe that the sweet baby girl who was 4 when I started blogging is the tweenager who is turning 12 on Wednesday.

She was blogging at 4.
How many posts and permalinks have connected our years
our celebrations and fears
we hyperlink one to the next
and suddenly they begin to out grow us
move to a new server with friends
surpassing bandwidth we never conceived of
and I'm not even talking tech.

tough room, this place, these days.

BUT THEN, in those days, when we were all here together, not so spread out on the Internet's little intranets, THEN she was just 4, and she was wide open, always on 24/7 just like she is now, but with more questions than answers. And I'm feeling nostalgic for those times, and feeling thankful we put them in pixels back then.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

conversations in jenna's twin bed before drifting off to sleep

Jenna: Mama?

Mom: Hush Jenna--go to sleep.

Jenna: Can I tell you something?

Mom: Okay, go ahead but then close your eyes.

Jenna: When you drink water, it goes in your mouth, down your throat, past your potatoes, into your stomach, into your bladder, then it mixes with yellow ivy and comes out in the potty--right?

Mom: Pretty close, yes.

Jenna: Is that it--is it the yellow ivy that makes it yellow?

Mom: No I think it's vitamins and minerals and stuff.

Jenna: Are you sure there's no yellow ivy in there?

Mom: I don't think so, but that's a good idea, now go to sleep.

Jenna: Mama?

Mom: Sleep Jenna.

Jenna: When I was one year old, where did I sleep?

Mom: You slept in your crib, in here, in your room.

Jenna: But how did you fit in there to lay with me?

Mom: I didn't, honey. I sat on the rocking chair that used to be in the corner.

Jenna: Oh, I wondered how you fit in my crib with me.

Mom: I love you Jenna, now hush.

Jenna: Okay. I love you too.

Word of the Decade: Toink

Reminiscing blogaria 2002, when my middle schooler was a kindergartener, and the word of the day was Toink.

December 27, 2002

Word of the Day: Toink

So Jenna, by virtue of her five-year-old stamina, and with help from her father's gaming prowess, wins 1400 points at Dave and Busters two nights ago. She picks this great Coca-Cola soccer ball--like a real soccer ball--as one of her prizes. She's been having, pardon the pun, a ball with this ball. She tells me this about it:

I know what's inside of this ball, mom.

Oh you do?


Toink? What's Toink?

You know, Toink. Feathers and fluff and small paper. That's what's inside, filling the ball up.

So that's Toink--feathers and fluff and papers?

Yep. That's Toink. It's inside this ball.

Toink--Your word of the day. Courtesy of the babyblogger.

September 23, 2009

so embargoes are still dead according to TC

I think everyone has gotten the memo by now: TechCrunch stopped honoring embargoes from PR people a long while back. And today, TC has still stopped honoring embargoes. Elvis also remains out of the building.

It's understandable Mike doesn't want to deal with embargoes because he spends time writing stories that are supposed to be news while another outlet breaks the embargo and Mike doesn't run the story because the news isn't new anymore.

As Mike's argument indicates: no one wants old news. And news is only news for a second. If you're lucky.

Mike has some advice on how to release news the new-fashioned way -- he says to release the news on your own corporate blog and then email everyone asking them to take a look. So he's basically advising you to break your own embargo (and spam your friends). heh.

Over on facebook (WTF) Robert Scoble has some suggested ways around TC's no-embargo policy for companies who still care about giving their left nut to appear on TechCrunch. Example:
Donate $1,000 to a charity if Arrington keeps his mouth shut (will cost you maybe $5,000 to keep a few big bloggers in line). Make it public. That way he’ll look like a loser if one of his writers breaks wind first.
Only thing is, Robert hasn't been copied on the memo stating that companies - yes, even tech companies - don't care as much about appearing on TC as they once did.

You see, THEY got the memo letting them know that they should care to be where their customers and users are. Those people are not hanging around TechCrunch.

The old technobility has lost its crown. Long live the mommy blogger.

(taking tongue out of cheek)

The larger issue of the end of the embargo is a pain in the ass for PR people and a pain in the ass for the reporters who have always been professional enough to stick to embargoes.

It's also a pain in the ass for the Press Release itself, which finds its role further weakened, because the entire "pre-seeding" process before a press release hits the wire has to change when the media won't agree to hold off on publishing until a specified date and time.

So what do outlets like the Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch who now shun embargoes really want? They want the exclusive. They want to be the only outlet to get the news, or they don't want to play.

So how do you make news?

FIRST, you help people do something so special that they are compelled to tell their friends. You help them do that thing better and with less energy and expenditure than your competitor. You incent and reward them for telling their friends - you make them your business partner. You work with a communications pro (I'm thinking of dropping the PR term altogether) who connects what you're doing -- and what PEOPLE are doing WITH what you're doing -- to everyone who should know about it.

And you don't stop.

Embargo that.

September 14, 2009

the more all over the place i say things...

the less i have to say.

seems so anyway. here, there, everywhere, twitter, facebook, blog1, blog2, blackberry, strawberry, argh.

so updates in order of importance:

1) jenna is in middle school and playing flute in band.
2) the pool will be closing in two weeks but we haven't had sun in days so the water is cold.
3) i'm entertaining various work and career options.
4) i'm entertaining friends and neighbors with dogs that don't stop barking.
5) george is walking with a cane [[wait move me up to #2]]
6) i took new blood pressure medicine and I can see now. [[no, wait, move me up to #2]]

my favorite tweets of the evening in NO particular order:
  • @elonjames: #Twilight is to Movies what #SouljaBoy is to the dreams of our ancestors.
  • @DaisyJDog: I can't believe there is a picture of me without my collar on the internet
  • @DavidPaulNewell: LA times reporting that Obama made an off the record comment calling Kayne a "jackass".
  • @QueenofSpain: Walking as slowly as possible back to my car after picking up meds at the pharmacy...I don't want to get home in time to put kids to bed

August 27, 2009

stockpiling homade soup

in advance of h1n1. laugh now, but you'll be after my carrots later.


August 23, 2009

middle school

jenna's in it. it's blowing my mind. looking for a flute. locker shelf in. 3-ring binders. she's growing. she's fluid. time is elastic. i don't get it. and that's ok.

RT @Lauren_Bacall

Yes I saw Twilight my granddaughter made me watch it, she said it was the greatest vampire film ever. After the "film" was over I wanted to..smack her accros her head with my shoe, but I do not want a book called Grannie Dearest written on me when I die, so instead I gave her a...

DVD of Murnau's 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu and told her, now thats a vampire film! and that goes for all of you! watch Nosferatu instead!

August 22, 2009

Found poems from 1982

Synchronicity is maybe what it was. Jenna was restless weeks ago and looking for things to get into the night she found the old photos, her idea to make a scrapbook for our 23rd wedding anniversary out of pictures from the past. 

 I finally dug the plastic bin of photos out from beside my dresser, where it sat beneath other plastic bins of things I have no place for except to put on top of other plastic bins. It was two years ago that the plastic bin obsession seemed like a good idea. Now I wonder why I didn't opt for the dumpster. 

While Jenna scattered photos across the rug searching for just the right ones, I came across a notebook I hadn't seen in a decade-plus: my college poetry notebook, stuff I wrote when I was 20, when Gerald McCarthy was my professor. So I decided to type these up, for digital archiving, if not for your enjoyment. I hope maybe for both. 

A Poem for My Brother 

I sit on the basement stairway 
curl my fingers into fists 
my feet move as 
the veins on your arms rise 
your hair drops beads of sweat 
onto your knee 
the high-hat, the snare glisten 
under the single unshaded lightbulb 
hung from the wooden ceiling beam. 
I have never been able to touch you. 


You can talk to me now 
about writing I
spill my ashtray on the bed 
rub gray ashes into the cotton sheets 
my grandmother gave me 
so I can smell smoke in my sleep. 

You're growing even thinner 
When I touch you, you break 
into pieces so small. 

Who stole the meaning?


The living room is gold now
wall-to-wall carpet sprouts shag 
like those weeds behind the high school. 

Someone moved my copy of Lolita 
and the hell of leaving was easier 
than coming back 

Meditation on the Train Ride to Chicago 

The windows move us 
past the south side 
and I wish 
we were just leaving home. 

Glass shatters 
laughter leans against a street light 
an unseen hand shakes the clothesline 
torn t-shirts and diapers wave 
underwear sponges up 
the dirt from the city sky.


The road stays dark 
my feet disappear under me 
to lose my arms 
I stretch them forward 
they will not leave me.
I dig my fingers in
hold my eyes in my hand 
and squeeze until the pain stops. 

The Rain 

Against the tree 
arms behind my back 
I lean on my hands 
rubbing bitten finger tips 
up and down the bark.

Yesterday it was spring rain-smell 
memories of bicycles, porch lights, kickball
the quiet splash of sneakers 
down the path toward the mud hole 
grass gone 
maggots hungry with anticipation. 

Too young for the funeral, 
I stayed behind 
and wondered who would die next. 
On TV, the world turned round 
and everything that was supposed to be funny 
still was.

August 12, 2009

windshield wipers for my eyeballs

ptsd cure: patent pending eyeball wipers. work similar to windshield wipers, except on eyeballs. gentler. smaller also.

action: eyeball wipers scrape traumatic imagery from eyes before droplets are deposited in memory, obscuring critical thought and hope.

inspiration: visit to neuroscience intensive care unit at emory medical center, where floor-to-ceiling, glass-windowed patient rooms let nurses (and visitors, AKA me) visually monitor the condition of critically ill patients 'round the clock.

price: free to all little children and grown up children.

creative commons license applies.

August 04, 2009

Serving Up some Culture Kitchen at bTrendie

Not surprisingly, Liza Sabater said it better than I did. For me, it IS fun to be helping out bTrendie because although the technology is sound, and obviously without the evolution of e-commerce, online shopping wouldn't have gotten so much more intuitive. BUT the point is, with bTrendie the technology is secondary to we're doing.

This isn't a technology story, although it should interest the tech media. It's a story of a startup who had the balls enough to ask 10 women from very diverse blogging backgrounds to join forces to generate Really.Good.Ideas and to create a user experience tailored to its actual users BY its actual users.

Other private shopping sites like RueLaLa and Gilt offer a range of merchandise across a wide swatch of the buying public. Those sites have worked hard on broadening their offerings, with RueLaLa recently going mobile. In the mean time, bTrendie has focused more and more keenly on meeting the needs of pregnant and newly delivered parents, and getting many products designed and made by moms into the hands of moms.

Watch for more to come. And if you're pregnant or know someone who is, get your bohonkus over to bTrendie to grab the deals.


July 08, 2009

The Kid Is So My Son

There's been a lot of talk and speculation -- and possibly even some facts, though I haven't seen them -- indicating that some or all of Michael Jackson's children aren't biologically his.

I don't know who their gene daddy is, or what DNA mashup was the genesis of the Jackson kids. The consensus is that they are gorgeous and poised now that we've seen them quite literally unveiled.

What IRKS me are the people who blabber on about what kids of color (not black, not white, but the colorful ones) (what I long ago on this blog called extraethnic, which maybe should have been intraethnic, or interethnic, or just plain KIDS, hello, I don't know) SHOULD look like. (p.s. we're all mixed; deal with it.)

"Those kids are not his. No way. YOU should know what mixed kids look like--those are not mixed kids," one mom with a son of mixed heritage said to me last week.

I was like, um, I don't get it. True, they could quite possibly not be his. They could be his. They could not be his. I can't tell you.

Someone else today said to me, "Those kids aren't his. They are not mixed."

Sure, Paris with her blue eyes, it's a long shot genetically speaking, but it's not unheard of. I haven't seen ALL the Jackson relatives. I don't presume to know. Why should any of us presume to know?

I've seen every permutation of DNA, every hue, every hair type mixed with every melanin level, every highlight, freckle, and eye color combination imaginable in my 25 years as a card-carrying member of the 'mixed relationship' club.

Even if they're not Michael's biological kids, does that mean the father was Caucasian?

What would you like to do, say, "Turn her hands palm up and let's see if she's mixed"? I'm here to tell you, you still wouldn't know.

I'm not saying that these kids are biologically Michael Jackson's or that they aren't, and I'm not bothered that people have OPINIONS because goodness knows this is the Interweb and without an opinion you might as well stay home...


...don't tell me what specific qualities of appearance a growing child, a child in media res, needs to demonstrate in order to be defined as non-white.

Identity is precious and takes decades to develop - we're lucky if we figure out our personal configurations while we're still on this planet. Identity is nothing to be toyed with, except by its owner. Or maybe it is.

So I say, ask a white-black middleman, ask me, ask someone you know, or ask no one, but definitely ask yourself this: What are your preconceptions of what mixed kids look like, what defines mixed, and where did you get the information? What if you're wrong? What if white is black and black is white?

What if Jesus had hair like wool and skin the color of copper like it says in your Bible, not blue eyes and locks of gold?

Who's identity are you really unsure about? Really?

Maybe its the man in the mirror's.


June 27, 2009

have you SEEN my childhood?

Michael Jackson called this song his autobiography. It is.

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for the world that I come from
'Cause I've been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart...
No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities...
'Cause I keep kidding around
Like a child, but pardon me...

People say I'm not okay
'Cause I love such elementary things...
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood
I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates in adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me,
Look within your heart then ask,
Have you seen my Childhood?

People say I'm strange that way
'Cause I love such elementary things,
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like fantastical stories to share
The dreams I would dare, watch me fly...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
The painful youth I've had

Have you seen my Childhood....

June 08, 2009

June 07, 2009

News Shift - This Century So Far According to Google News and the Wayback Machine

I was thinking tonight, looking over the hot topics on Google News, how even though "things" have gotten worse since the economy fell into disarray, "things" somehow don't seem as bad as "things" were when the Bush-Cheney-Fox-News team blasted catastrophe 24x7, without ceasing, without fail, during the 'war on terror era.'

Even with a real catastrophe on our hands today, with a bi-polar economy in need of lasting stabilization, the Obama political machine has found a way to keep the hot topics less dramatic, less hysterical, less frightening. And the media (Fox news notwithstanding) has obliged.

In The News

Some say Google is in bed with Obama. If so I hope Obama gets all the covers. Because it's making me feel better that even though "things" are in many ways worse, it doesn't feel all that bad all the time.

Do what I did tonight and use the Wayback Machine to take a look at Google News past.

It's a little bit fun. A little bit interesting. A little bit scary.

But not as scary as it used to be.

June 01, 2009

Hamster Genitalia

Judging by my referrer log tonight (right sidebar), someone is (one might call it "disturbingly") obsessed with hamster sex.

Frank, give it a rest for tonight.

I'm just sayin'.

TWITTER: Men on Men Action!

New Harvard Research suggests a Man of Twitter (MOT) is almost twice as likely to follow another MOT than a Woman of Twitter (WOT).

And in other news, Hell is still HOT.

The NEWS to me is that Harvard finds this trend stunning:
These results are stunning given what previous research has found in the context of online social networks i. On a typical online social network, most of the activity is focused around women - men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know. Generally, men receive comparatively little attention from other men or from women. We wonder to what extent this pattern of results arises because men and women find the content produced by other men on Twitter more compelling than on a typical social network, and men find the content produced by women less compelling (because of a lack of photo sharing, detailed biographies, etc.).

Huh? Remember the pre-historic era of blogrolls? Remember the echo chamber? Remember Aggregators and top feeds? Remember Techmeme? Twitter is not a new Internet, it's just a new node with the same tendencies and hierarchies (and patriarchies) replicated in 140 characters. I really don't GET the assumption that men usually follow/read/link-to women, and that women do the same. It's just not true. Not online, not offline, not never.

An interesting fact to me is the sheer velocity of popularity on twitter, and how ACTIVITY (not content) may be what drives follows:
Specifically, the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets.

That may mean that tweeting OBNOXIOUSLY OFTEN gets you somewhere on Twitter. But then, I think we already knew that.

May 31, 2009

the WB

Kelly at Kdidddy has a great recap of her recent trip to the (former) motor city, the glory, the tragedy, the vinyl, the husband, the house music, the to be continued, and the pictures.

OH and the writing. I've been reading way more 'mommybloggers/parenting bloggers' than usual recently because of a project I'm working on, and I've made an amazing discovery: lots of these people are writing their asses off. Writing WELL, I mean. Great story tellers. I can't avert my eyes kind of story tellers.

What did I expect? I mean, I WAS an early mommyblogger before mommyblogging had a name, although the name itself isn't one I would have self-selected because the term is a market segment, and I frequently avoid being segmented. I've spent so much in therapy dollars trying to integrate, after all.

So Kelly is one of these Really Good Writers Who Also Happens to Be A Mom (that's my new proposed term for mommy bloggers by the way: RGWWAHTBAM. Deal with it.). However, she mentions not being able to write so much on her blog these days, a malady with which I've become (believe me I've read your emails) all too familiar.

That's why it was great to read her Detroit post, which inspired me to post here YET AGAIN (nearing a record for the year).

As for the post itself, I cry when I think of Detroit. Really. Of all it was, is, and represents. It makes me think of the middle class genocide remark made by the 'markets' expert guy a couple of posts down. wtf. no really.

We have adam lamberts and chris whats his faces and legions of others who eat fresh meat of the love-art-industry of American music built in a city that has been desimated.

Accidental? Maybe not.

ADAM! ADAM! ADAM! really. white people. don't get me started.

ANYWHOO this post was supposed to be about the writer's block that Kelly is currently toying with deciding she has.

I know. I do know. I've been calling it menopause, but have also been waiting on hormone test results which will probably show I have years left of fertility and in fact actually have Mad Cow Disease.

But something is amiss - it's not easy to write - it's not as cathartic - it doesn't seem necessary. SO many words and pixels flood the net. Lots of times I feel like I'm doing a disservice to add more.

NONETHELESS I just added some more, and thanks, Kelly, for the inspiration.

May 30, 2009

okay, an Oreo Donut?

From Sheila Lennon, a simple elegant site that demystifies the most unhealthy foods on the planet by showing us what quadruple smothered, battered, and fried looks like: This is why you're fat.

Halley's gonna freak when I say so, but if you put this Oreo Donut in front of me, I'd be all up in that.

Back to the Future

I clicked my blogroll tonight for the first time in forever. You are still there, many of you. wood s. lot how long has it been? And you lead with a doosey. You always had doosies and you still do.

Don't miss it. Steve Lendman spills the beans on how markets really work (against us).
Why? Because the profits are enormous, in good and bad times, and when carried to extremes like now, Fitts calls it "pump(ing) and dump(ing) of the entire American economy," duping the public, fleecing trillions from them, and it's more than just "a process designed to wipe out the middle class. This is genocide (by other means) - a much more subtle and lethal version than ever before perpetrated by the scoundrels of our history texts."
The idea that equity prices reflect true value or that markets move randomly (up or down) is rubbish. They never have and more than ever don't now.

Fisticuffs Saturday

You start the summer and you figure: YAY! THE POOL!

The thing about Atlanta is that a subdivision isn't just a subdivision. Sure you can call it a subdivision, but it calls itself a swim-tennis community. Unlike a regular subdivision, a swim-tennis community has, among other things, a pool and a tennis court.

Rocket science.

Now, since we don't live in a swim-tennis community, but rather in a loose-basketballs-and-random-bikes-strewn-across-yards community, our neighborhood doesn't have a pool. Or a tennis court. Or a clubhouse. Or a neighborhood association. I know, stop painting the rosy picture.

As a result of our pool-less-ness, every summer I search for a swim-tennis subdivision that takes outside members so that we have somewhere to swim, fry our skin, and basically wear out the child so we need less melatonin nightly.

For the last 4 years we've joined the same pool, and for the last two of those years, we've seen what apparently is a rite of summer in the south: pool fights.

A pool fight takes place when at least two grown men have consumed at least two cases of beer over the course of at least two hours while sitting or standing or stumbling in direct sunlight over the course of at least eight hours, after which one says something stupid to the other.

What happens in fight club stays in fight club.

Tonight's brawl was between two fathers who had a total of six kids at the pool who had been friends for 15 years. Niceeee.

Apparently the wives were at the crux of the conflict, and then apparently one of the husbands said something about the other husband's wife's crux, and fists began flying.

I don't know how many grown-up fights you've seen, but until my pool days, I think I had only seen a couple of bar brawls, the result of falling in love with a bassist who sometimes played in clubs where people sometimes drank even more than pool people do.

Today's fisticuffs was broken up by several other large dad-men at the pool, and the drunker of the two offenders and his wife and children were escorted out by the large dad-men. Some pool goers stayed on after the brawl; others decided it was a good time to take their leave.

I think I did a little of both.

Meanwhile, I had three girls there (mine and her 2 friends), who got to witness the brawl in all its splendor, leaving me with the task of explaining wtf.

They didn't say, "Mom/Miss Jeneane wtf?" but it was written all over their faces.

I explained that some of those involved had been drinking large quantities of alcohol, and things got out of control, but that those people were gone now and we were ok.

And thinking that was lame, I asked the President of the Board at the pool what happened, who said: "Too much booze, too much sun."

What happens in fight club stays in fight club.

What won't leave me alone tonight are the faces of the children who watched the fists connect, the ones whose dads were involved, the ones who were dragged out of the pool and stuffed into the car smack dab in the middle of what was, three minutes before, a fun day.

But that's how it goes with pool fights.

The not so funny thing is, when we were driving out of the subdivision, I saw the offending family outside at their house. The kids skateboarding, the parents were sitting relaxed on the front setps laughing, talking to another neighbor.

Everything was back to normal. Nothing to see here. Don't ask don't tell. They'll all live to swim another day.

What happens in fight club stays in fight club.

May 17, 2009

if i had a dollar for every post I've written here...

...I'd have over five grand, and that would have been more than enough to keep going, which, since I haven't received said five grand, or even one grand, recently went offline due to a case of the dreaded-but-familiar "blog host nonpayment syndrome"...

...And all of that, my patient friends, is a round-about way of saying that is now back up and nearly operational. You may notice, she's also sporting a new and improved look thanks to the sleuthing and savvy design chops of Mr. RageBoy who has been known to do WordPress magic in exchange for almost any treat from the A Taste of Thai product line, but only occasionally, and only if you ask nice.

Now, to all of the angry neo-cons who bring goodly traffic my site accidentally while searching for Janeane Garafalo to harass (she's jAn, not jEn), I say this:

Keep those blogads comin'. Mama's got RXs to fill.

April 12, 2009

So When Google DOES Buy Twitter, Will Anyone Say "Jeneane predicted that in 2006"?

Probably not. But I did.
With Twitter, I think Ev may become the first person to get bought twice by Google. The way I see it, Twitter is the reason Ev bought back Odeo, Inc.
Ev even thanked me kindly for the positive nod. In fact, I think it will take a powerhou$e like Google to put some of the other stuff I predicted 3 years ago into the twit-mix:
The Recipe (variations based on taste): Buy Odeo, Inc. back for $2 million; rebrand; take your least-understood product and take it to market hard; aggregate the curious and their friends from across web-based social networks; get them co-communicating on a realtime platform via the web, IM, and cell phone/SMS; acquire a couple of companies or organically build in powerful local/regional/commerce capabilities; and let users make rev off of ads too 'cause that makes for more users; create the power of completely engaged smart mobs; improve offering; get amazing press; add a pinch of cumin and get acquired by Google.
Good to hear good things are in the works for twitter, however it turns out.


March 30, 2009

The Only Real Twitter Book You Really Ever Need, Pretty Much.

it's like he knows me, like he sees into my very soul.
"You need to calm down. Strategy guides can arouse you and make your head go a buzz with excitement and all the possibilities that suddenly flood into your mind. So we need to calm you down."
--marcus brown
Power Force Twitter Black Belt
pre-download, pre-order and pre-read yours today!
dammit. everything is different now.

Worked Very Hard Not to Transfer Own Fear to Kid OMGZ Way Up High

I've never ridden a ferris wheel. I used to become quite literally paralyzed on the tilt-a-whirl, unable to grip the bar, completely frozen by the speed of spin.

One time I rode those swings on chains that fly you around in a suicide circle, and as soon as I got off, I threw up. In front of everyone. Mortified.

Since then I haven't ridden many amusement park rides.

Yesterday I worked Very.Hard. Not to transfer my own fears and nausea to my daughter as she experimented with rides she'd never ridden before at the local mall carnival.

Look about 2 seats from the top. That's Jenna & her friend.

stereotype this.

Japanese Enka singer from Philly, Jero.

March 28, 2009

v. nice interview with chris locke by marcus brown

Gets better n better as you go. Good take on the swarm of locusts. And you learn: It's all Doc's Fault! ;-)

good stuff on cluetrain 1 and 2.

March 24, 2009

Shelley Powers on Ada Lovelace Day

In celebrating two uber-known bloggers, david armano recently said, "You can tell who the pioneers are from the arrows sticking out of their backs."

I thought a lot about this saying tonight. Wrinkled my brow over the connotations of words like pioneers and arrows. I've come to the conclusion that pioneers are not always -- nor often -- heroes. Often, pioneers come looking for fame and fortune, put conquest over content, rob native people of their land, their crops, their livelihood, their dignity, and sometimes their lives. Smallpox infected blankets might ring a bell. And arrows in the back might be a proper thank you.

So, pioneers have their own history book pages. I'm here to celebrate the contribution of an ancestor from the original blogosphere, the pre-historic times of online publishing, an indigenous person, one of those who came before the others, who after-settlers have tried to contain and oppress on their way up the twitter scale without success.

One woman in tech comes to mind above all for me, and that's Shelley Powers, Burning Bird, the native, not the pioneer.

Shelley is an indigenous netizen, an original woman technologist and author, photographer and activist, online and off - the earliest female tech blogger to stand up for women's issues online when there weren't many women being heard, when debates got hot and heavy and personal, the brilliant writer who talked until the men went nearly mad from her unwillingness to submit.

What Shelley has done for tech is a matter of public record and Internet lore.

What makes Shelley special is not just what she has done with and for technology, not only her many books, but the richness of her writing and photography beyond the topic of tech. She is proof that the most interesting of us in any discipline are those who have multiple dimensions.

We shout we whisper we cut we bleed we code we paint.

Visit the many dimensions of Shelley, and tell her thank you.

February 04, 2009

Internship -- The New Not-Job

Have you SEEN the number of internships available now that so many companies have laid off employees and are looking for warm bodies with some kind - any kind? - of ability to fill their place, fo' cheap? Wooo! Now is TEH time to be an intern.

There isn't a hotter career on the job boards or in the breakroom, and not a better way to worm your way into an organization ensuring that you maybe, one day, if you're lucky, after you do a lot of grunt work, actually get paid a few bucks.

As jobs disappear, the competition for highly visible internships is likely to heat up. Many are holding out, hoping for a CEO internship. When CEO interns head the boardroom the truth will be exposed: MBAs really aren't a prereq to running things.

If you lack the money to go back to school to learn a brand new skill set, and since Obama's jobs building bridges and electric cars haven't materialized quite yet, now is the time to check out internships in your area. Might be the only gigs out there.

Hey it could be worse.... uh... ?

February 03, 2009

disintermediating the paparazzi

So Demi Moore (@mrskutcher) and Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) are on Twitter, and they are being real people, which I guess is what you are if you're used to doing all the cool things that celebrities do.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I have to say, it's interesting to see someone as high profile as Demi Moore (I think she's even more famous than Mike Arrington!) post a photo she took of the paparazzi outside her house on twitpic.

Hey paparazzi say hello to your mother for me! on TwitPic

Now THAT's a paradigm shift.

Demi took some other pix of their trip to the Superbowl and tweeted the game as well.

who needs TMZ when celebrities tweet?


February 02, 2009

Next Up on the Chopping Block: Your School Nurse

In the ever growing wave of budget cuts, some school districts are considering cutting the school nurse job from all public schools.

What a stupid idea.

Of course, Georgia is right up there classing it up -- let's give the kids salmonella-tainted peanut butter and then take away the nurse who cleans up their puke.

Go Sonny Go. (No, really, go.)

the PTA says No Way--Nurses should stay.

Atlanta moms are up in arms too:
Eighty-five percent of students who see a school nurse return to class. One Georgia nurse I know was the first ever in her district. When she visited one school, the secretary pulled open her desk drawer and said, “Here is our medical cabinet.” My friend left with a two-quart pitcher full of medication, much of which was expired and the rest mismatched pills in the wrong bottles. School nurses around the state can share similar stories.

Asthma, juvenile diabetes, food allergies, seizure disorder and a host of other illnesses were virtually unheard of in children when Perdue was a child, but now affect a large percentage of children. The reasons are complex. These students need regular monitoring and, oftentimes, medical intervention to stay in the classroom. Our state test scores are already disgraceful. They will only be worse with tons of kids being sent home from school midday.
Is it even LEGAL for schools to cut school nurses? Will it take a well publicized asthma death to make sure schools can fit a nurse into their budgets?

I mean there MUST be another place to cut. One nurse, hundreds of kids. Seems like an easy math problem to me. But then, I'm not Sonny Perdue.


Just when i think it's all bad...

...the net picks me up and makes me lol -- and I mean LthefuckOL!

Reading David Armano from Marcus Brown on Vimeo.

bad landing page tip 9943320

Please don't welcome me to your site with noise. You ought to know better by now.

Landing page music went out in the 90s. And fake talking people are annoying. 

Case in point: The Tori spelling chick on - the one who never shuts up - she's GOT to go.


The Little (Ad) Engine That Could

This past week, blogads reminded me why Henry and the gang remain the coolest and most reputable ad engine in town for web publishers. Reward my sponsors; reward Blogads. Because the blogads folks have been treating bloggers fairly since blogtime began.

Today Henry discusses the falloff of online ad sales, and its effect on his industry. Like everything else, it's not a rosy picture:

Back in November, I suggested that online ad sales might fall 40% in 2010 as a deep recession carved into online ad budgets. Looks like the market is headed that… or worse, at least according to this Ad Age article:
Cost-per-thousand ad impressions for online publishers are generally off about 20%, according to several people on both the buying and selling side, and sell-through rates are dropping. And where publishers used to unload 60% of their inventory, some are now able to sell only 30%.

But perhaps indicating more trouble ahead is just how cheap the low end of the market has gotten. An August study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Bain & Co.* found the average CPMs on ad networks ranged from 60 cents to $1.10, only 6% to 11% of the prices publishers could command when they sold inventory directly. And the pricing for networks appears to be getting worse not better. CPMs for ad-network-sold ads are dropping, some by 50% year-over-year, according to a recent study of pricing by Pubmatic, which tracks pricing among many Long Tail ad networks.

Put those percentages together and you’ll discover that some publishers have seen revenues collapse 60% or more.

Compounding the recession-driven collapse in revenues is the fact that the volume of online content is still doubling yearly, thanks to all the blog posts, comments, photos, videos, ratings, interactions and e-phemera that we all create singly and socially.

With supply doubling and demand stagnant or down, advertising prices are headed to zero for any property that doesn’t deliver VERY compelling value to advertisers.

What a lot of publishers don’t get is that “selling” is only a tiny portion of the formula for survival in the short run, and success longer term. The real keys are innovating, keeping overheads low, improving processes and talking relentlessly to your customers about what they want.

Note what Henry says and compare it to my observations about the value of content in my previous post:

Compounding the recession-driven collapse in revenues is the fact that the volume of online content is still doubling yearly, thanks to all the blog posts, comments, photos, videos, ratings, interactions and e-phemera that we all create singly and socially.

With supply doubling and demand stagnant or down, advertising prices are headed to zero for any property that doesn’t deliver VERY compelling value to advertisers.

It's the same thing I said below. And Henry, I'm not sure WHAT the criteria is for "compelling" anymore. It used to be gripping, good quality content. Naked pictures? A good social media boxing match?

Seriously: The value of Value itself is in question today.

wtf. where do we go from here.


The Value of Words

I have made my living using words for a quarter of a century. It hasn't been a bad living. At times it's been a very lucrative living. And it's not like I ever had any other choice. I was published at 11, and after that my trajectory was set.

I remember not quite believing the first time I hit a six-figure salary at a big agency willing to pay me that much money to write. They paid it to me because I was a special kind of writer -- the kind of writer that can jump from client to client, project to project, technology to technology, instantly, and be up to speed within hours, honing in on the key key key KEEEEYY pieces of a client's story that my ear tells me will resonate with the market.

Being able to write well is something you learn because you spend all day, every day, for years and years, doing it, not because you were born with some special gift. Sure, some people are gifted, but most writers work hard to become good. They read; they write. Every day.

That's where new media comes in. Suddenly, everyone is a writer. No, really. Everyone IS a writer. People are writing all the time. All day. Every day. Posting and thinking and posting.

Because I started writing websites in 1996 and blogging in 2001, this plethora of great online writing thrills me. It's incredible to read so many people with so much to say saying it so well. Who's been a louder cheerleader for blogging than me?

But, like the indie recording revolution before us, this swarm of great amateur writers, combined with a new means of distribution (the Internet), leaves us pros in a lurch.

Now, mix this evolution of great writers into our current dismal economy, and those of us who once made a living 'writing' are hurting the same way we would have if we had been building carburetors for GM for the last 30 years.

This is not a story you'll hear on twitter. The tweets of the social media elite get faster and more furious -- a kind of machine-gun denial stream of who's meeting where attending which conference lunching with whom waiting for what meeting to start with which big name company or influencer.


These. People. Are. Lying. To. You. And. Themselves.

Let's talk numbers for a minute.

Of course, writing isn't a product that you can always package in a precise word-for-dollar way--especially when strategic thinking is involved. But, I've played around with the numbers during my career to see if there is a formula of effort expended to pay, and there usually is.

The old OLD pay for writers when I started out 25 years ago was $1 a word. During the dot-com era, I was averaging $3 a word. At other times, the average compensation has fallen in the middle. For web content, I've made anywhere from $250 a page to $2,000 a page.

These last two weeks I've been checking out a few sources for writing work, and what I found was more depressing than I even imagined.

Responding to a dozen craigslist postings and 5 postings yielded four relevant replies.

The first, a woman who uses elance to outsource writing work to folks in India. I was, she explained, overqualified for the kind of work (and pay) she was offering. I did the math. It was pennies a word. She said I was overqualified. I have to think she's right.

The next was a social media blogging gig, two posts per day minimum, with pay of $200/month, preceded by a testing period where hundreds of interested applicants would compete to get this primo gig. To the company's credit, they offered $100 for the testing period.

Next I tried another online micro-job site that posts small jobs requiring a tiny bit (and nothing more) of human intelligence. Sample writing work there? 1000+ word product guides. Pay: $5.00. In 1986 I would have made about $1,000 for that job. In 1999 I would have made $3,000 for that job. Today, some one will do it -- maybe not well, but they'll do it and search optimize it -- for five bucks.

The third was a company owned by a major social media player looking for people to post articles using certain tags. A phone call revealed some interesting things: 1) Hundreds of people applied. 2.) many of them were high level pros 3.) the gig doesn't pay, at least at first. My contact for the job was surprised that so many name folks and pros responded to the job posting. Now, some people would have used that opportunity to say, YES, but I'm the BEST. I said: "That's because NOBODY'S WORKING--ok?"

Eight years ago I started my own business. I've had slow patches here and there. This is not a slow patch. This is a collision of the worst economy of our lifetime and the de-professionalization of my craft.

And it's heartbreaking.

The rise of the commons isn't always easy on the common man. How to balance the beauty and benefits of an open, free culture with food on the table? It's not an unfamiliar dilemma in our family - my husband spent 40 years in the music business.

Of course, those of us who have been around the block and bring MORE than writing to the content table have an advantage. And quality (maybe) still counts. I've branded and messaged and helped build some of the largest and strongest brands in the world. I also have a decade in PR under my belt, and am a pretty well known marketer.

But at the core of it all, I have always made my living with words. And today words are a commodity that can be outsourced and automated. As a commodity, I'm not sure how low the value of words will go.

But if the old adage a penny for your thoughts still holds true, and a thought is probably at least 10 words, then I think we've pretty much hit bottom.

(cross-posted to

January 22, 2009

long live the funk, indeed...

A must read, because funk ALWAYS gets it right.
Way back B.O. (Before the New Pres, you know who), the Real Clinton sang about foregoing the 40 acres and mule and going straight for the Chocolate City. It was no dream. Banishment for the establishment, you know what I am saying?

You don't need the bullet when you got the ballot / Are you up for the downstroke, CC?

The Real Clinton spoke of a day when the Greatest of All Time, Cassius Clay Muhammad Ali, would be in the White House and Miss Aretha Franklin would be the First Lady. Thirty-three years later (the lifetime of Christ, by the way), Ali was at the Capitol and Miss Aretha sang for the First Lady. It all makes sense. This is the way it was destined to be. Too bad Richard Pryor left for brighter pastures. You know he was smiling down on us.

January 07, 2009

back to basics with some good and crazy interspersed, and a few words on how twitter did good

Really, I've been trying to keep as my "all things social media" blog, but as always, when I start wandering away from THIS old house, I end up as scattered, smothered, and covered as Waffle House hash browns. Fo' Real.

So I'll probably keep doing some stuff on each blog. Although I'm wondering - wordpress comments, that spam receptacle, astounds me. How do you people keep up with the comment spam on your wordpress blogs? Sure Blogger gets some too, but not nearly as much. I don't know; that's a conundrum for another day.

Yes, I'm on steroids. Could you tell?

It takes a lot to get me motivated to put on my glasses these days. And in order to write comfortably staring at the screen, my 46-year-old eyes have decided that glasses are mandatory.

Tonight a cool thing happened on twitter that brought my glasses onto my nose.

David Armano used his blog and twitter for a worthy cause - to raise money to get an appartment for an immigrant and her three children who found themselves in domestic turmoil and had been living with Armano and his family. In fact, everything the woman owns is in Armano's garage.

How'd it end? Well it is still unfolding, but the twittosphere delivered 10K in a few hours. I expect to see the story on CNN and the Today Show. Seriously.

As someone familiar with things that become Internet Lore, I think Tori Tuncan raises some important issues regarding the details. Another risk for Armano is becoming a virtual (or literal) halfway house for those in need. Could be a call for a new and fitting career? Could be a real nightmare? Time and circumstance will determine if one woman got the help she needed, or if perhaps a longterm miracle happened tonight.

The legalities and details will no doubt sort themselves out. But for tnight Twitter, was full of people Tweeting and Retweeting, trying to do some good for a woman and her three kids based on a trusted member of the community vouching for the cause he was personally involved in. And as someone who benefited from a blog-a-thon that got me my new Macbook when my old Acer gave out, I'm glad to see someone in #Daniela's situation get a year of free rent. And more if she can.