Monday, August 18, 2014

Well, I’m Back

My two weeks of vacation are over.  I had a great time with my parents, I got to sleep in, I got a lot of writing done, and I feel as ready to go back to work as I’ll ever be.

The timing is perfect: today is also the first day of school for Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the new year.  That means traffic will be a little heavier this morning, and I know lot of parents are happy to see their kids off to school, nervous as their little ones start school for the first time, and wistful as those little kids have magically grown up.  I’m starting my twelfth year as an employee of M-DCPS.  That means kids that started school when I first joined the district are starting their senior year.  The cycle is now complete.

It’s been a crazy two weeks out there.  New names have been added to the American lexicon: Michael Brown, Jr. and Ferguson, Missouri; the Yazdi and Kurdistan.  New twists to old names: Rick Perry and indictment; Rand Paul and race relations.  Shocking and sad losses: Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.  There was also a lot of silliness and strange stuff that makes up the our world.  That’s part of the cycle, too.

So anyway, I’m back and blogging here has resumed its usual schedule, such as it is.  Thanks for waiting, and I hope you weren’t too bereft at my absence; I couldn’t take the guilt.

What’s next?

Monday, July 21, 2014

This Week

Blogging will be a light and variable while I’m taking care of Ben and Madam.  Just so you know.

Things should be back to normal by next weekend.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Holiday Schedule

I’m putting up my traditional 4th of July posts a little later, and that will be it for the day.  Today I am going to a car show to celebrate the day, then tonight is the opening night of the Miami 1-Acts Festival at New Theatre where my play will be done.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Standing Ovation

For digby for winning the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Heather “Digby” Parton grew up all over the world as the daughter of a peripatetic employee of the vast American Military Industrial complex. After a traditional 1970s-style misspent youth and fitful education, she landed in Hollywood and spent a couple of decades as an executive in the film industry, pushing the usual paper and making the usual deals. Out of a need to vent her frustration with the state of America’s politics, she began writing daily political analysis, punditry, random musings and snark on her website “Hullabaloo” in 2002. It soon turned into a full-time vocation, obsession, and, surprisingly, a new career.


Digby has written for mainstream publications such as Salon and New York Magazine among others but maintains the blog as her primary publishing platform, still churning out a half dozen posts a day, sparking debate and riding the political zeitgeist from her beach cottage in Santa Monica, California. She remains a prominent voice of progressive thought and online activism, often linked by others with one simple line: “What Digby said.”

They could not have made a better choice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Good Night’s Sleep

It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep will do for you, and I finally got one.

The last week has been all go-go-go, what with traveling to the Inge Festival with its events running late into the night and then getting up the next day to go to workshops.  Then I got up really early on Sunday to get to the airport to get back here for the staged reading of my play, which lasted until 10:30, which is late for me.  So I took a half-day at work yesterday, came home, and zonked out on my bed.  I got up in time to make dinner, catch up on TiVo, and go back to bed at 8:30.

I’m back on my regular schedule now.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Back to Work

Yep, spring break is over, the Inge Festival is over, the reading of Can’t Live Without You is over; time to go back to the regular routine.

Things will be a little slow picking up here as I’m still a bit travel-weary, but I should be back to full speed by later today or tomorrow.

I hope that as March goes out, it goes out like a lamb where you are… unless, of course, you have run out of mint jelly.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Break

We’re off for a week starting Monday, but I get to start a day early, so I’m on vacation schedule until March 31.  Add to that my annual trip to the William Inge Festival, and blogging will be light and variable for the duration.

But there will be posts, and I’ll share my journey to Kansas with you, you lucky people.  Oh, and there will be a little bit of dramatic news at the end of next week.  So stay tuned.

12 Beach and Ocean

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sleeping In

I’m running a little late this morning due to a late night of theatre and visiting with new and old friends.  I’ll be posting the usual stuff a little later this morning.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

R.I.P. Bartcop

Bartcop, one of the pioneers of liberal blogging has died.

TBogg pays his respects.

bartcopBartcop was a snarky, no-holds barred, riotous – at times mean-spirited, but never untruthful – oasis of hilarity and vitriol, where politicians and a compliant media  were called out for their bullshit. Along with Media Whores Online (‘The Horse”), no journalist was ever again safe from having their stories fact-checked online and then held up to ridicule.

Bartcop was the brainchild of Terry R. Coppage, based out of his beloved and sometimes mocked Tulsa, Oklahoma home.  Terry was fearless in a way that other media critics couldn’t be for a simple reason: he wasn’t angling to move up the fawning beltway food chain with a guest spot at The Washington Post. He didn’t pull punches and he called bullshit for what it was: “bullshit.”

The site was crude, the graphics sometimes even cruder (I have a special place in my heart for his animated gif of Tim Russert repeating “Clinton’s cock” over and over and over again), but most importantly  it dispensed with the niceties with a wicked grin with a well-placed deflating shiv between the ribs.

Terry Coppage, “Bartcop,” passed away this past Wednesday due to complications from the  flu, pneumonia, and leukemia at the age of 60.

Before Terry passed away he wrote a last post to go up in the event of his passing or inability to write again.  You can read it here.

It’s safe to say that I and a whole lot of other bloggers got their start by reading his work back in 1996 when this new form of expression was just getting started.

I hold him and his family in the Light.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Back to Work

Things might be a little slow here as I regain my momentum after the weekend of traveling, two car shows in a row, and the traumatic news of the end of the Sochi Olympics and the cancellation of the Piers Morgan show on CNN.  (See, I do have some snark left.)

We had a good time at the shows even though it rained several times on Saturday and Sunday’s Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance was hot and humid.  The best news is that the Pontiac got its second Driver Participation chip on Saturday, and even better, made the trip without any mechanical problems.

Anyway, it’s back to work this morning and then preparation for another show next weekend in Coral Gables.  The fun never ends.  (That’s not snark.)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sick Day

To quote the immortal Carroll Todd (Robert Preston) in Victor/Victoria: “Oh, damn.  There’s nothing more inconvenient than an old queen with a head cold.”

I’ll be forcing fluids and sleeping in, hopefully rid of this by Saturday in time for Art Deco Weekend on Miami Beach.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Real World

You need to read this piece by Jill Filipovic about the level of online harassment she gets on a daily basis as a woman on the internet.

I know these harassment stories are ubiquitous to the point of being boring. “Women get rape threats” is not news. Amanda Hess helpfully details the actual costs of these threats: The hours of work lost to tracking someone down online, to reporting someone to the police, to developing self-protection mechanisms when the police fail, to, in extreme cases, hiring professional enforcement for speaking gigs. For me, the costs included a law school education, professional contacts, and a robust work life.

But what about the things you can’t put a price on? How many stories weren’t written because the women who could best tell them were too afraid? How many people like me, damaged and lashing out, paid their online cruelties forward? How many women look back at the person they were before their skin thickened, before they learned how to deal, when they were a little more sure-footed, and how many of them grieve a little bit for all the good things that got lost in the process of surviving?

What does an online landscape look like when the women most able to tolerate it are the same ones who are best capable of bucking up and shutting parts of themselves down?

It’s easy to leave a snarky comment on a blog post, put up a snappy comeback on a Facebook page, or smack someone down in a Twitter feed because there is a veil of anonymity.  Even if you use your real name among friends, there is still the sense of power engendered by being behind an electronic barrier of a screen and keyboard — not unlike being in a car in traffic — where you can yell and scream outrageous things knowing that you are comparatively safe from harm until the road rage hits back.

But I know too many women — and one is too many — who endure online threats of rape and death on a daily basis and as a matter of just doing their job for it not to be something that is a scourge that must be faced and defeated.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to Work

Yeah, winter break/furlough is over.  I had a nice quiet time, got some writing done, met some new friends, renewed old acquaintances, and ate my share of holiday chocolates.

So I’m back on the regular schedule, more or less.  It may take a day or two to get used to wearing real shoes and work clothes again.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Welcome to New Readers

If you came here via the link from Batocchio’s post for the 2013 Jon Swift Memorial Roundup, I’m glad you stopped by and hope you’ll take a look around. I’m on a little bit of a winter break, but if you scroll down and read some of the older posts, you’ll get to know me and what I write about.
Welcome Matt 12-28-13Wipe your feet, please.

Good Reading

The 2013 Jon Swift Memorial Roundup has been posted.  Backstory here.

Jon Swift - Al WeiselOur late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows… One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed. It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

If you’re a regular reader here, you will see a lot of familiar bylines of bloggers I respect, admire, and try to emulate in quality.  And if you don’t know them, take this opportunity to read them and discover their work.  Frankly, that’s how a lot of readers first came to this little blog, and I’m grateful that Al/Jon made an effort to promote the smaller ones.  And, of course, thanks to Batocchio of Vagabond Scholar for keeping the flame alive.

For the record, this post from last August was my contribution.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Schedule

As of 4:00 p.m. yesterday, I’m on winter break until Monday, January 6, 2014.  I have lots of things to do such as read, nap, do crossword puzzles, and go to several gatherings with friends where lots of food will be served, so blogging will be light and variable until then.

Fear not; I will be posting something every day, including my usual holiday greetings and my end of the year looking back/looking forward post.  So stop by and see if I’m doing anything worth noting.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jon Swift Memorial Round-Up

The only real end-of-year listing I enjoy is the one that the heirs and keepers of the memory of blogger Al Weisel — who blogged as “Jon Swift” — do each December.  Via Battocchio, here’s the request.

It’s that time of year again to continue a tradition started by Jon Swift/Al Weisel, the “Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves.” Jon/Al left behind some wonderful satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs. (Here’s Jon/Al’s 2007 and 2008 editions and the revivals from 2010, 2011 and 2012.)

If you’d like to participate, just reply to this e-mail or write to me (Batocchio9 AT yahoo DOT com) with your best post of the year:

Blog Name
Title of Post
Author of Post
Brief Description/Pitch of the Post (1-2 sentences)

(If it’s not a reply, adding “best post” in the subject line would also help.)

To modify Jon Swift’s 2008 solicitation:

I would be very honored if you would participate and send me a link to what you think was your best post of [2013], along with a short description of it.  Please make the hard choice and send me only one link.  I would like to post it before the end of the year, so if you could get it to me before Christmas, I would really appreciate it.

As usual, I’m aiming to find the right balance between “inclusive” and “manageable.”  If you know a few excellent blogs (preferably on the smaller side) that you suspect might not be on my radar, feel free to send me their URL (and contact info, if you have it).

I have already submitted my own entry — Goodbye, Perrysburg — from last August, so I’m done.  But if you have a blog or knows of someone who does and would like to participate, join in.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No Ads

This is a relief.

An appeals court has upheld a ban on political advertising on public broadcasting — reversing an earlier ruling by members of the same court.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled against a public broadcaster seeking to have the ban overturned on 1st Amendment grounds. The broadcaster was also seeking to be able to run paid advertisements from for-profit companies.

Let’s not kid ourselves; most public radio stations have underwriter messages that border on being ads without actually having them.  While I understand the need for public radio stations to raise money any way they can, there’s something sacred about keeping it to the occasional fund-raiser (which some stations actually do very well, at least in terms of not being guilt-inducing and annoying).  Public radio is supposed to be commercial free, not just because it relieves the station of the task of blocking time to broadcast content in the middle of all the ads, but it gives them at least the illusion that they do operate, as my broadcasting history professor of forty years ago said, in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity.”

I’m glad to see that public radio stations will not be able to get paid advertising or — thank dog — political ads.  It would just make them like every other station, and besides, you can never have too many NPR tote bags.

That brings me to a tangential point: Why aren’t there ads here on this blog?  I have nothing whatsoever against ads on a blog, and I read and even write for those that do have ads and depend on the revenue for their survival.  But when I set up Bark Bark Woof Woof ten years ago, I made a semi-conscious decision not to solicit advertisers or accept them if offered.  It wasn’t out of some sense of moral superiority — dog help me if I should ever feel like that — but, to paraphrase the immortal Groucho Marx, I would not want to associate with a business that would want to advertise here.  (I do get the occasional solicitation from a bot that says “Hey, I read your post on ___________; very insightful!  Can I guest-post about something?”  The giveaway is that the post they find so insightful is “A Little Night Music” or “Short Takes.”  Depending on my mood, I either delete without comment or reply that I charge $50,000 for a guest post, payable in advance with a certified check.  Oddly enough, I never hear back from them.)

Not taking ads also meant that there would be no doubt whatsoever in the mind of the reader that there’s no influence on me as to what I write about.  (I assume that is part of the logic behind keeping public radio and TV ad-free.  The cynic in me knows that underwriters could exert some behind-the-scenes influence on what might be aired on PBS or NPR, but at least there is the patina of neutrality.)  That’s not to imply that blogs with ads are under the thrall of their sponsors; quite often bloggers who are patrons of some blog ad services don’t have much of a choice of what ads appear on their sidebars.  That explains why you might see an ad for the NRA on a left-wing blog.  I’ve asked around, and every blogger whose site has ads has told me that they don’t give a flying rat’s ass as to what ad shows up as long as the check clears.  It’s not that they don’t care or that all they’re interested in is the money; it has to do with the simple fact that for them running a blog costs money and they depend on the revenue.

I understand completely and don’t begrudge them a penny of it.  I am in a position where my costs are very low and am fortunate to have a technical adviser and supporter who donates the hosting cost to the cause.  I’m grateful for the support and grateful to be able to provide this humble effort to the reader without ads.

Speaking of donations, yes, I have a Donate button on the sidebar.  It is there for those who feel they would like to make a donation, which would go to the maintenance of the site such as my monthly internet service.  And there’s also the link to the Bark Bark Woof Woof Shop where you can buy shirts and tchotchkes.  Both are guilt-free for you and labeled appropriately as Shameless Self-Promotion.  (FYI, in the ten years the shop has been open, I have yet to generate enough revenue to get Cafe Press to send me a check.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Slow Start

What should have been a leisurely drive home from Orlando yesterday — four hours, tops — ended up being nearly eight hours because of… well, we’re not really sure why.  There was a fifty-mile long back-up of stop-and-go traffic on Florida’s Turnpike between Kissimmee and Fort Pierce that didn’t seem to be caused by an accident, weather, or construction.  The only thing we saw was a huge line of cars getting off at Yeehaw Junction (yes, there really is such a place) and another long line of taillights getting into the Fort Drum service plaza.  But that’s it.

Anyway, I got home a lot later than planned and I’m slogging it to get going this morning, catching up with the news and bracing myself for going back to work after a four-day weekend and a long day at the Festivals of Speed event in Orlando.  So forgive me if things are a little pokey around here until I get back up to speed.

How was your weekend?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blogging Note

It’s going to be quiet around here for the rest of the weekend.  I’m off from work today, catching up on housekeeping stuff and whatever I have stored on TiVo, and besides, most folks are either shopping or taking time with family.

I’ll drop by to post the usual stuff such as ALNM, and this weekend I’m going to a high-end car show in Orlando, so I might have some pictures of some very cool cars.  In the meantime, enjoy your leftovers and your loved ones.