Horror of Five Things About Media and Technology Right Now

(This is Part 8 in a never-ending series of posts on media and technology that for some reason I’ve started to name after classic monster movies. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, and part 7.)

1. A couple of years ago the editor of Medium wanted to know if I would like to repost an article from my site to Medium. Great! What’s the pay? Oh, we don’t pay, she said, but you’ll get exposure and it’s a nice writing platform!

Yeah. I’m too old to write for free. Besides, like the old joke says, people often die from exposure.

The sad thing is that Medium actually does pay some people. But you have to be a “name” writer, or at least have some sort of connection to someone at Medium (a lot of people don’t know that this is often how publishing works). I heard a story a few years ago that one somewhat well-known writer got paid $15,000 for one article she wrote for Medium. Imagine how many writers they could have paid with that.

I bring this up because I see that Bill Simmons is starting a new site called The Ringer, but instead of doing it on his own he’s partnering with Medium. I have no idea how this will work, paying writers-wise or advertising-wise, but since it’s a major deal I’m sure they’ll figure it out. For everyone else I suggest you keep your own site and not post everything you write to Medium (or Facebook or HuffPost). I’m also amazed that Medium is treated as if it’s groundbreaking or innovative. We’ve all been using blogging/publishing platforms like that since the 90’s. I guess the connection to Twitter makes it hip.

2. The Awl thinks that most longform is bad. Actually, all bad longform is bad. Good longform is good! (It’s called good writing, and good editing.) I’m old enough to remember when “longform writing” was just called “writing.” But that was before “writing” became “content.”

Maybe The Awl would be happy if we just got rid of words altogether and just communicate via texting abbreviations and emoji:

If anyone can decipher that, let me know in the comments.

3. I’d hate to be starting out as a freelancer these days, especially when you have people like the editor of the Huffington Post UK in charge. A quote:

If I was paying someone to write something because I want it to get advertising, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. When somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real, we know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.

HuffPost bloggers don’t need to get paid (it would be nice but most just use it as a blogging platform), but this quote manages the neat trick of insulting both the bloggers who write for free and the paid journalists HuffPost has. Well done!

4. How much news is too much news? For WCVB, ABC’s Boston affiliate, there’s no such thing. They’ve added two more hours of news to their schedule every single day: a 4:30pm show, a 7pm show, and another hour at 10pm on their sister station, Me-TV. This is in addition to the news they have from 4:30am to 7am, at noon, at 5pm, at 6pm, network news at 6:30, and 11pm. Oh, and they’ve also added an hour-long newscast Sundays at 5pm. Math was never my strong suit but I’m going to say that all adds up to… “a lot.” (And I haven’t even included Good Morning, America and their overnight news that runs from 2:30am to 4am.)

That’s too much news, especially when you’re not a 24 hour news channel.

I was afraid the 10pm Me-TV newscast would also be run on Saturdays, which is when Svengoolie airs. And that’s exactly what they’re doing! Luckily, Svengoolie is moving to 11. You can’t imagine the rioting that would occur if the show had been replaced completely. Fans are serious about their Svengoolie. (Unfortunately Me-TV fans won’t be as lucky during the week: whatever was shown at 10 then isn’t being kicked out.)

5. I need a Twitter sponsor. Someone I can call when I’m tempted to check it or post to it, who can talk me out of it and keep me on the straight and narrow. Someone who can monitor my Twitter account and call to yell at me if I do post something.

Applications being accepted. I’ll supply the alcohol.

Cold shower

Did you hear the one about the guy whose water heater broke late at night? That’s not the start of a joke.

The other night, around 11pm, I muted the volume on my television because I was doing something that needed my full attention. I heard something like water trickling down, but it was raining so I assumed that it was just the rain splashing against a window or the front door. It didn’t sound exactly like that though so I investigated further. Opened the closet door and, hey, water coming out of the top of the water heater and collecting on the floor! Fun!

Called the landlord and he came over and shut everything off. Got a new water heater installed the next day, but not before having to take a cold-water-only shower that morning. If you can call a few drips coming out of the shower head taking a shower. It was North Pole cold – to the point my head actually started to ache – and really ineffective. You can’t rinse a head full of shampoo with drips. Ended up finishing up my shower in the bathroom sink.

It reminded me of when I was a kid. I didn’t have a shower until I was around 21. Don’t be snarky, I mean we always had bathtubs and I took baths. Looking back now I don’t know how we did that.

It’s snowing right now. Supposed to get 4 to 8 inches. Snow on Monday too and then another storm on Tuesday. Like my hot water, winter is back. New column up. Have a good weekend.

Snowy Ambush

satevepostsnowyambushMeteorologists, two days ago: “Northern Massachusetts isn’t going to see much from this storm at all. Maybe an inch or two.”

Total this morning: 7 inches.

I love the snow, but I hate being surprised by shoveling. By the way, the cover on the left is “Snowy Ambush,” by John Falter. Can you tell me why it has that title? Let me know in the comments. I stared at the pic for 20 minutes before I figured it out.

I Can’t Tell You Why

Is it weird that when I hear the name Glenn Frey, I think of his solo stuff/Miami Vice before The Eagles? Of course I think of The Eagles too, the brain synapses clicking everything into focus rather quickly, but before The Eagles I actually think of “Smuggler’s Blues” and “You Belong To The City” and his appearance on Miami Vice. You can tell I was formed by the 80s in many ways.

I can’t say I was the biggest fan of the band. Sure, I remember many nights listening to “Hotel California” and “Witchy Woman” while a certain type of smoke billowed all around us and really loving it – if you’re of a certain age The Eagles greatest hits were a big part of your life – but they’re not a band I still listen to. You move on from certain bands, even if a song here and there gets you thinking about things again. My favorite Eagles song – by far – isn’t even sung by Frey or Don Henley. It’s sung by Timothy B. Schmit.

That’s a beautiful song, and they’re flawless musicians.

It snowed the other day. Not a big storm but enough to say you shoveled and had to put down rock salt. More coming this weekend and it’s supposed to be major. I’ll try to get The Letter out by then!


It’s flu season, and I’ve decided to participate.

I’ve felt worse, but I can’t remember when. I don’t even know if it’s technically “flu” or just “I’m really sick.” We never called it “the flu” when I was a kid, even if it was, we just said we were sick. I’m tired, my nose and sinuses feel like they’re filled with wet paper towels (and they’re on fire), I’m sneezing like crazy, I have head and body aches, and my throat is dry. Flu? Bad cold? You make the call!

Since flu is a “season,” almost a holiday, there should really be some songs and carols that mark the season.

“Here we come a-caroling, among the phlegm so green!”
“Tis the season, to be sneezin…”
“Deck the Halls Menthol Soothing Triple-Action Drops”

New column up. If you need me I’ll be on the couch with a cup of tea, a comforter, a book, and a box Coricidin.Β  Have a great weekend.

This is the first post of 2016 and I can’t think of a title for it

One day after Christmas – actually, the minute December 25 changed over to December 26, in the darkness of midnight – it didn’t feel like Christmas anymore. Odd how that happens some years. Goodbye Christmas! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Stop listening to Christmas music!

Of course, it didn’t help that the weather was warm, I didn’t have any tree or Christmas decorations up, and the supermarket couldn’t get the peppermint bark off of the shelves quick enough. There’s already heart-shaped chocolates for sale for that next big day.

I did see Star Wars: The Force Awakens though. Really liked it, didn’t love it. No spoilers. I will say that revealing Princess Leia to be a robot this whole time was an odd choice. But I trust JJ Abrams!

What am I working on this week? This: