Die, Memoir, Die!

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This is probably going to be be my most unpopular blog entry.
But it contains a harsh truth, something anyone writing their memoir should understand.

Don’t expect anyone to be interested in reading your memoir.

How many times have we seen the following in a play, a movie, or television series? — The protagonist, a writer of note, is hounded by some schlub hell-bent on coaxing said writer to read/critique/co-write their life’s story.

Theater critic Mortimer Brewster is hounded throughout much of “Arsenic and Old Lace” by an overbearing rookie policeman who pitches at length his tedious life story. And how many times had Jessica Fletcher in “Murder She Wrote” been dogged by people who want her to read their manuscript that is a thinly veiled fictionalization of the minutiae of their drab and dreary occupation?
The reason this happens so often in popular entertainment, penned by real-life writers, is because it happens so often to writers in real life!
I am barely on the beginning of my trek of published authorship, and I have already been approached by at least a dozen family/friends/strangers who tell me their desire to write The Great American Novel about their personal struggle with cancer/divorce/depression/angst/toenail-fungus/etc.
(Or worse yet, ask me to read what they’ve already written.)

Now I understand why a wolf gnaws their own leg off to escape a trap.
What these poor souls have yet to learn is the lesson that is beaten into writers day after day — make the material interesting or no one will read it.
Your life is interesting to you.
The challenge is to make your struggle interesting for Joe Blow on the street.

I have read a few memoirs — more accurately, I tried to read them, and gave up after a few chapters. Most of them are poorly written and tedious slogs through the writer’s personal turmoil. They document in tortuous detail every feeling, shadow, and fear that surrounds every unfortunate event and setback, real or imagined. Not the thing that makes a compelling read.

Are all memoirs terrible drek? Not in the slightest.
There is one memoir that I can recommend.
I read Betty MacDonald’s “The Plague and I” as research for a short story in “If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep.”
If_I_Cant_Sleep_v3I approached MacDonald’s book with reluctance, intending only to scan the bare minimum for background info about tuberculosis sanitoriums. The story was so compellingly told, that it sucked me right in, and I devoured the entire book.
Please read it and use it as a model to guide your memoir style.

Before you get out your pitchforks and torches to lynch the nasty blogger, let me get one thing straight.
I am not telling you to stop writing your story.
Please do — Continue to write your memoir.
It is a document that you probably need to write, for any number of reasons:
— it is something your descendants or immediate family would cherish;
— it would be a valuable document, should you become famous or infamous;
— it is probably the best therapy to work through your problem(s), and thereby reduce the chance of you becoming infamous.

So, write your memoir.
Just don’t expect people to line up to read it.
Or perhaps better advice would be:

Live a life noteworthy enough to inspire someone else to write it.

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Word Size Isn’t Everything

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confooz_minions_eschewI’ve often been accused of being overly loquacious.
   Am not! I do not talk too much!
However, if you accused me of being sesquipedalian…
   Yup – guilty as charged.

I sometimes tend to use big words, but not because of some dark deep-seated need to feel superior. I instead attribute it to two reasons:
1) my parents instilled in me a strong desire to build my vocabulary;
2) sometimes the right word to use IS the big one.
In homage to reason (1) above, I’ve slipped in a saying from me-mumsy-dearest in my latest project, “My Friend Jackson”:

People who use 4-letter words have 4 IQ’s.

In my pursuit of flexing my vocab muscles, I wouldn’t be surprised if along the way I’ve created words not found in the Oxford dictionary. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, I consider myself in good company.
Here’s a short list of words that didn’t exist in the English language, until an author created them in their literature:

chortle      Lewis Carroll
cyberspace   William Gibson
doublethink  George Orwell
droog        Anthony Burgess
grok         Robert Heinlein
nerd         Dr. Suess
pandemonium  John Milton
pollyanna    E.H.Porter
robot        Karel Capek
shangri-la   James Hilton
superman     Friedrich Nietzsche
utopia       Sir Thomas More
waldo        Robert Heinlein
yahoo        Jonathan Swift

So why did I choose this topic to ramble away on?
I was recently reminded of how “invented words” leech into our conversation, when a TV murder mystery referred to “furnidents,” defined as “the impressions that appear in carpets after furniture has been moved/removed.”
That’s not a real word!
It was first introduced by Rich Hall in his “Sniglets” feature in HBO’s “Not Necessarily The News.”

Some of my other favorite sniglets:
furbling – Having to wander through a maze of ropes at an airport or bank, even when you are the only person in line.
carperpetuation – The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum ONE MORE CHANCE.
flen – The black crusty residue that accumulates on the necks of old catsup bottles.

For a rather impressive list of sniglets, follow this link.

I’m sure you’ll find a few “invented” words in my books as well.
If you find one, and are curious about their meaning and etymology, leave a comment or drop me a line!
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English Class Can Be So Violent!

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Harry Reasoner

I had an English teacher, in the days when the Petrified Forest had real trees, who had a reputation for boring her classes stiff. One day however, she started our class with a film about the importance of “word placement.”
The film featured Harry Reasoner, a CBS TV network news anchor of the day. Our whole class collectively rolled their eyes at what promised to be another pointless and boring lesson.
We were oh-so-wrong — as by the end of the class, we were clutching our ribs in pain, howling with laughter.

The filmed lecture began innocently enough, with a quick introduction by Mr. Reasoner. The CBS anchor then wrote on a blackboard the following sentence about a recent incident involving him and a fellow newscaster from the same network:

ONLY I punched Walter Cronkite in the nose.
He then explained — his otherwise perfect total deadpan spoiled by a wicked gleam in his eye — that in this example, “ONLY” at the beginning of the sentence informs the listener that Mr. Reasoner was the sole person who hit Mr. Cronkite. There may have been several other people who wanted to do Mr.C. harm, but no one other than “I” did it.

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But… who would want to punch ME?

The lesson proceeded as Mr. Reasoner moved the all-important word “ONLY” to other positions in the example sentence, then explain their subtly different meanings:

I ONLY punched Walter Cronkite in the nose.
I could have done something far worse, perhaps something involving a baseball bat, a shovel, or a crowbar. Instead I decided my fists were sufficient for Mr.C.

I punched ONLY Walter Cronkite in the nose.
There may have been several other people that had been punched during the event, but Mr.C. was the only person that I was responsible for decking.

I punched Walter Cronkite ONLY in the nose.
I could have punched something far worse, but I instead chose to target Mr.C’s sizable schnoz.

I punched Walter Cronkite in the nose ONLY.
Perhaps Mr.C. was punched in several places by two or more people. I however, am taking responsibility for the damage done to his honker.

Thinking back on this, I wonder if the teacher was trying to correct our English grammar, tainted by the word order preferred by Pennsylvania Dutch…? (We do love our dangling modifiers!)

I would love to see this little gem of a film again. But I have searched YouTube far and wide, resulting in abject failure. (It could very well be that I am mis-remembering that Mr. Reasoner was the host, and someone entirely different was the lecturer.)

If you can find this video, reach out to me by email, website or facebook. I will sing your praises in this blog and everywhere I write!

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Drawing On Experience

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nebula_wp_cropOne of my hobbies that turned into a vocation is CGI, or computer animation. In case you’re unfamiliar with the terms, think Pixar.

My first animation project was the opening animation for OTAKON 2001, “Mecha Run For It“. Though this 6-minute animation proved I had the chops to hack it, I simply didn’t have the bucks necessary to fund my own animation studio. And since wonderful ideas like Kickstarter did not yet exist, that dream quietly settled on the back burner.

Now that I am an (hopefully up-and-coming) author, I use this skill to enhance my publishing efforts. Although it isn’t animation, I use the same skills to create all my cover art and most illustrations to go with my stories.

How you might ask?
I employ LightWave3D, a CGI modeling and animation software package used in several sci-fi franchises (Babylon 5, Star Trek, Iron Man, to name a few).

Consider that animation is merely a series of photographs shown in rapid succession to fool the human eye’s persistence of vision. What better, than to my use animation to create my still-life illustrations?

I create the 3D models, pose the model actors, set the camera and lighting, exactly as if I were crafting an animation scene. The result is a photo-realistic image. If I need to convert the photo into pencil, charcoal, ink or paint styles, I have several converters at my fingertips in Lightwave3D itself, and other tools like Photoshop, to skin that particular cat.

You can see all my covers, illustrations and animation projects at anigrafx.com, but just to whet your appetite, here is an illustration used in “If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep.”
mask_of_jyestha_c16And here’s the illustration submitted with my short story “If These Walls Could Talk,” slated for Firebringer Press‘s upcoming anthology “Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity“.walls_talk_thumb

Bet you can’t wait to see what I’m cooking up for my next novel, “My Friend Jackson“!

Thanks to DT Krippene for suggesting this blog topic.

Do As I Say, Not As I Write!

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books_fer_head_cropIf you are a writer, you have probably been pelted by dozens of “rules of good writing” from various sources. And you’ve also most assuredly heard them spouted word-for-word from sources of every stripe. At one end of the spectrum: revered oracles and best-selling authors; the other end populated by bloviating rule quoters and clueless hacks.
nfwim_coverRecently, I read an amusing book, “Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve” by Ben Blatt.
Being a bit of a mathematician, I was intrigued by this statistical analysis of writing styles. What tickled my funny bone, however, was the light shed on how much authors actually obey these supposedly “set in stone” rules.

1) Exclamation points
The oft paraphrased rule by Elmore Leonard is “no more than 3 per 100,000 words of prose”. Yet take a look at how often the man himself used them.
off_exclamTsk tsk. The oracle uses forty-nine? He broke his own code!
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I am relieved to report that my own writing averages about 350 on the above graph, putting me solidly in the middle. In the universe of current authors, that makes me worse that Stephen King, but better than Dan Brown.
Getting back to Mr. Leonard, he at least does deserve credit for being the best of the lot. And keep in mind, his achievement of forty-nine is an average over his entire body of work. But how did the gent perform over his entire career?
off_exclam_leonardThis is one instance where the oracle seems to obey his own rule, but only after he sticks his big foot in his mouth.
exclam_type_ptThe rule, as a rule, is still something to which we should pay heed. After all, the above graph shows that quality writing leans toward this advice. Looks like I have some improvements to make, before achieving “Modern Literary” quality.
Aw, nuts! (Oops — another pesky exclamation.)
I think the best advice on exclamation points I’ve heard to date was from a professor at DeSales University: “The sentence must earn it.”

2) Abverbs
Mark Twain’s quote — “If you see an adverb, kill it!” — often echoes in my head (Naughty, naughty, Mr Clemens — you used an exclamation point.) Similarly, Stephen King instructs the writer to avoid “-ly” adverbs, recommending that a weak verb paired with an adverb is better replaced with a strong verb: e.g. replace “ran quickly” with “raced.” Personally, I agree with this advice.
off_adverbsKudos to Mr. Twain for adhering to his own dictum. King, however needs some remedial work. Though not presented here, Blatt’s book reveals that, like Leonard playing fast and loose with exclamation points, King only obeys his own adverbial advice after the year he penned it in his seminal work, “On Writing.”

3) Opening with Weather
Everyone is familiar with the oft-ridiculed opening, “It was a dark and stormy night,” penned by Bulwer-Lytton. It is generally accepted that good writers follow another one of Leonard’s rules: “Never open a book with weather.” Well, take a look at how often successful authors ignore that advice.
off_weather_1stI’m not sure if that’s a condemnation of the quality of certain authors or their
readers.

4) Suddenly!
Again, paraphrasing Mr. Leonard, the rule is “Never use ‘suddenly’.”
I guess as a whole, we writers cannot avoid a steady diet of suddenly’s.sudd_pt

I am pleased to report that I don’t break these rules — at least, not enough to warrant being at the wrong end of these graphs! Don’t believe me? Read my books, and decide for yourself.
If you read them, review them.
If you review them, please alert me if I’ve gotten lazy and broken these rules!
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How Tastes Change

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I was snacking on an apple this morning, and while crunching away, I also ruminated on how my tastes have changed over the past few years.
My favorite apples as a youth were red delicious. Today, I cannot remember the last time I had one of those – if only because it is impossible for me to predict their texture.
I hate mushy apples.
One thing that hasn’t changed over the decades is — my apples must be crisp.

As soon as four years ago, I adored noshing on Granny Smiths and Honeycrisps. Now I cannot abide them, because they are just too sour for my liking. Though they are both great when cooked. Nom nom!

I hate mushy apples. Oops — did I already say that?
Well, it bears repeating — I HATE mushy apples!
Much as I dislike to waste food, if I bite into an apple, and am presented with a mealy mouthful, into the trash it goes (or the lawn if deer are about). I demand an apple so crunchy, it makes my gums bleed.
My top three favorites are, when I can find them are: Cameo, Ambrosia, and Jazz.
And before you suggest “Have you tried…?” Yes, I have.

Who knows what my favorites will be next year?
I hear the modern-day Johnny Appleseed’s are working on a hybrid based on the Honeycrisp, to be named Laser-crisp. Oh, brother – I hate it already, if only because of the name.

On a non-apple note, I hated spinach and grapefruit when I was younger.
Now I love them – baby spinach in my salads, and pink grapefruit segments. Nom!

One of the more curious changes in taste I’ve experienced (other than my older brother morphing from a Summer-of-Love hippie to a Redder-Than-Fox-News conservative) is my attitude toward peppermint. I used to like it – now I cannot stand it. I loathe it so much, I consider the mixing of chocolate and peppermint an Abomination that merits its own verse in Leviticus.

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I even recorded a story about it – “Peppermint Christmas“!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Jest a Minute, You!

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Other than the King himself, who held the most important position in the King’s court? The Queen? The Prime Minister? The Exchequer? The Archbishop?
I believe it was the Jester.

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It was he who had the unenviable task of being the Conscience of the King.
Depending on the quality of the person holding the highest office of cleric, and on how religious His Majesty was, the Church should have also been risking that dance on the guillotine’s edge. But history shows that far too often the inner workings of the royal court often rendered the Guiding Light that should have been the King’s spiritual leader either totally silent, quite impotent, or even worse, more corrupt than the King himself.

It was therefore left to the the humble Jester to be the King’s conscience, his better self, his thorn-in-the-side.
A dangerous task, to be sure.

It still is today.
While I don’t place myself in the same arena as our current spate of late-night talk show hosts, political comedians/comediennes, and parody news sites (I lo-o-ve The Onion!) who skewer and lambaste those who so richly deserve it, I am thankful they are there, and admire the work they perform so adroitly.

To be sure, I have my own share of sarcastic and sardonic wit, though I marvel at the professional Jesters’ speedy and laser-accurate assessments of our politician’s foibles, hypocrisies, and outright blatant sins. It is truly a shame that like the Kings of Old, our leaders still hold the Jester with a disdain stronger than Drano, and ignore their sage advice.

The modern equivalent of The Jester certainly irritates those who have voted for these corrupt and/or brain-dead political flunkies. How else can it be explained that I find myself the target of wrath when I chime in with The Jesters? Time and time again, I have been blasted with the withering sanctimony, “He/She holds the office, he/she deserves your respect, so shaddap!”
Sometimes the name of God is also invoked by those same flapping lips.

They need to understand one thing about myself — and hopefully I speak for the professional Jesters as well — It is precisely because I respect the Office, that I lambaste the waste of protoplasm that infects said Office.

Needless to say, some of this acerbic attitude and witticism is bound to show up in my writings.
My epic fantasy, Pindlebryth, has its share. Take a peek and see for yourself!
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What’s in a (Nick)Name?

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my_name_is_NOTI seem to collect nicknames.
Many people loathe the paltry one or two they gather over a lifetime.
I, however, have long since embraced the dozens I’ve earned over the years, and made peace with the rest. I don’t allow them to define me, but they do serve their purposes — they recall to mind some of the good times, or remind me that there’s always room for improvement.
Here’s a few of the more notable ones I can share:

Uncle Christmas
I have been adopted by several of my good friends’ families, becoming the “Uncle” to their offspring. However, one family’s children gave me this name, mainly because I most often arrived with birthday gifts, holiday fun or Christmas presents. They’ve all since grown up, and don’t call me this anymore — More’s the pity.

Uncle Death
This one stuck, mainly because the Parental Units of another adoptive family still occasionally use it, long after their kids’ developing soft palates could properly pronounce the triphthong that starts my given name. That is, the ankle-biters tried to say “Uncle Chris,” and this came out of their tiny mouths instead.

Squiffer
A circle of friends and I were enjoying several rounds of “Balderdash” when this word came up as the word in play. We had a good laugh, because no one believed the game defined this word as “organist,” which in fact, is one of my vocations!
After the game’s conclusion, we looked it up in my friend’s multi-volume Oxford Unabridged Dictionary with its custom magnifying glass. (My friends have one, don’t yours!?)
Sure enough, “organist” was the 3rd definition. However, I was a mite red-faced when we also discovered the primary definition was… “drunkard.”

Dr. Death
Hmm…. my second “Death” nickname. Should I be worried? Nya-a-ah.
This gem of a nickname I picked up at AT&T Bell Laboratories, during my stint as a software tester. During my tenure in that position, I carried the honor of finding the most high-severity bugs each year. Needless to say, I began to get a reputation of sorts.
Though my coworkers appreciated that it was far better that I find these problems instead of our customers, and despite dispatching my duties without crushing the egos of my fellow coworkers**, many feared my knock at their door.
One fine day, I chased a software developer to ground in his cubicle, during which his wiseacre Brooklynite officemate blurted out,
“Uh oh! Here comes Dr. Death!”
And it stuck. I wear it proudly!

dr_deathKurt Russell from “Overboard” 

** – with one or two notable exceptions. Like when I had a heated argument with two Ph.D.’s in mathematics, who somehow didn’t understand the 6th grade math of percentages. Grrrr!

Mr. Koyl
This one’s a name that a girlfriend had given me. (Long after our break-up I still occasionally refer to her as “She Who Must Not Be Named.” But that’s another story!)
This name she bestowed upon me was an acronym for “King Of Yellow Lights”. Apparently, I had the aggravating knack — and still have — of turning almost every traffic light I approach yellow as I enter its “Stop or Gun it” zone.

This penchant for nicknames tends to show up in my writing. “The Mask of Jyestha” and “No Children Aloud” in my book “If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep” contain prime examples.
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We Luv 2B Scared?

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It’s that time of year, when we all like a little scare – or attempt to prove to those around us that we don’t scare.

In that light, I’d  like to share and review — and maybe even re-view — my favorite horror films. Maybe this will give you a hint of the type of creepy stories that I love to write!
After perusing my list, take a look at “If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep”, and see what I mean.
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This is not a list of “the best”, nor is it meant to be comprehensive.
I have my likes and dislikes that may (or may not) match with your tastes. It is perchance a way to get know what I find scary, and how I think when writing. For example, slasher and gore-for-gore’s-sake films are low on my list. And I certainly make no claim that I have seen anywhere near the entire compendium of horror / creepfest /schlock films.
In addition, there’s a whole slew of new horror flicks out this season – some of them quite stylish. Sadly, they will not be included in this year’s list. One factor of a really good horror film is their timelessness, so I wait at least one year before making a judgment whether they have the necessary staying power.

With all those forewarnings, here goes.
In no particular order, I enjoy to dread (or is it dread to enjoy?):

The Thing (1982)
It is rare when a remake is better than the original.
But this Lovecraftian spin on the Campbell short story “Who Goes There?” excels in characterization, script, and special effects. Its faithfulness to the story’s original theme of “who do I trust” is visceral. After first seeing this film, I could not re-watch it alone for a full year.

The Exorcist(1973)
Atmospheric to the extreme, and due to Friedkin’s bag of dirty tricks (like shooting a gun during takes to make the actors jump), a compelling descent into a taut story was born.

Legend of Hell House
My favorite creepfest, written by Richard Matheson.
Not to be confused with he B&W “Haunting of Hill House”, based on the Shirley Jackson book. Roddy McDowall is perfect, directed by Michael Gough (who is also uncredited as the film’s baddie).
It is possible one of the reasons I like this film, is because most of the film crew earned their stripes producing British TV’s “Avengers”.

Alien
A magical if not fiendish combination of Ridley Scott at the top of his form, and the master artisans Moebius and HR Giger. Truly a classic gothic nightmare. From the very start, with the ethereal string chords (Curse you Jerry Goldsmith!) during the opening credits, I knew I was in trouble.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Though some would pooh-pooh this as schlock sci-fi, I still consider this horror, as it goes to heart of the human condition.
My favorite scene? The low camera angle traveling shot of the pitchfork in the greenhouse. Cinematic mastery, combining implied violence and tension.

Blair Witch Project
Glad I saw this in the comfort of my home. Shaky-cam makes me nauseous on the big screen. Nevertheless, a novel way of telling a unique story.

Cabin in the Woods
If you thought Buffy and Angel had a good mix of horror and humor, give this film a whirl. A interesting twist on the “pick off the kids” trope.

Ringu / The Ring
Both films are disturbing in their own way. The Japanese film had a few things that make perfect sense for its locale, but needed to be redone for the American audience. I was impressed how the American film does it justice, keeping every creepy atmospheric dread in tact.
But if you haven’t seen the Japanese version (Ringu), please do. The way the family resolves the problem of the deadly video is gut-chillingly dark.

Sixth Sense
I’m glad I saw this for the first time while at home. I blurted out in the restaurant scene, “Holy sh**, he’s {spoiler}!” I think the audience might have lynched me.

Nosferatu
German expressionism, and a “method” actor that has yet to be equaled.

Poltergeist (1982)
Despite Spielberg’s heavy hand throughout this film Tobe Hooper delivers a creepfest that builds incessantly. What starts out with innocent goosebumps leads (at least for me) to a jump-out-of-the-seat moment when finally face-to-skull with the monster.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Better than the first, which is rare for sequels. While exceedingly gory, I still like this movie, mostly because of the stellar dialog.
There are two exchanges between a human and a demon that, to this day, still chills my blood every time I replay them.
Doctor: (mewling) “Oh my God.”
Julia: “No – this one’s mine.”
—-
Doctor: (mewling) “I want to leave.”
Julia: “I don’t understand. You wanted to see. You wanted to know.” *crunch* “Now you know.”

 

Rah Rah SisBoomBah! Get Your Fake News Here! Ta-dah!

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CircusMaximusThink ‘fake news’ is a recent development?
Wrong – this insidious canker on an informed society has been around for thousands of years. But not in the form we tend to think of today.

And if you are a sports fan, you’re part of the problem.
A typical sports fan fritters away dozens of hours a week glued to the tube. Some of the more insane of this curious lot think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on cheap foreign-made merchandise just because it sports (pun intended) their favorite team’s logo. The most extreme cases upend their wallets, spending thousands of dollars on season passes.

Who first called out sports as ‘fake news’?
Go back to ancient Rome, where the satirist Juvenal coined the phrase panem et circenses or “bread and circuses.” He was referring to the practice of annona (grain dole) which parceled out food and entertainment as political rewards. This practice was an amazing success. Consider that annona began in 123 BC under Gaius Gracchus, and was so fiscally successful that Julius Caesar rebuilt the Circus Maximus half a century later, and Constantine grew it to its current bloated size in 400 AD.
But it was Augustus Caesar who turned ‘bread and circuses’ to a fine-edged political tool — it allowed him to be elevated to pagan godhead while ancient Rome barely blinked.

Sports fandom draws its historical roots from a word meaning insanity.
Consider the word “fan” – short for fanatic. In ancient Rome, this pejorative term implied the person was unreasoning and off his rocker. It was often applied to people who idolized the gladiators, fanatically following the exploits of their favorite circus warrior. They collected figurines of their hero, emblazoned their homes with mosaics and scratched graffiti of their hero’s name on public buildings.
thracian_gladiatorSound familiar?

In short, professional sports is, and always has been, a diversion to keep people from focusing on the problems of society. It is a drain on the economy, it huge waste of time, and a gigantic money-making diversion that keeps the populace distracted.

To this day, every television news program, every newspaper (that still exists), every news service, devotes one-quarter to one-third of their precious time and energy to sports. Not to mention those media channels devoted exclusively to sports…

Why does News do this?
What real news is there in teams’ scores, the latest triumph or failure, the latest record broken? With the possible exceptions of the Olympics or the recent uproar over “taking a knee,” when did any sports victory affect the world in any significant fashion? What treaty was signed, what genocide was averted, what disease cured, what famine avoided, because Team ABC defeated Team XYZ?  Oh, and don’t get me started about the blatant lunacy of paying sports figures millions of dollars when firefighters, police, nurses, soldiers, teachers — the real heroes of every stripe — are paid paltry sums.

Nations going to war, economic entities making decisions that affect all of our
lives, genocides, atrocities of every ilk — all going unnoticed because News panders to those who consider devotion to a sports team more important. That is the REAL FAKE news, and the real tragedy.

Do you know what would I would consider unique in the world of sports news?
If some sports mega-star, paid gazillions of dollars, fessed up on camera, “Our team lost because I just didn’t give a rat’s rear-end. I phoned my performance in. Hey, I get paid whether I win or lose, so why should I give a rip? Turn off ESPN and get a life.” Or if the billionaire owner of a team let slip a truth during an interview, “Thanks for the free stadium, chumps.”
That would be real sports news.

Don’t get me wrong about sports — if you like to play sports, go and do!
Athletics is part of what makes us human. It is necessary for a healthy body and sound mind.
It is the glorification of professional sports that is the sickness.