One of those blogs about why you haven't been blogging

This is one of those blogs wherein you explain why you haven’t been blogging much.

Life happens.  I’ve been busy with business, visiting Mom (who continues to decline day-by-day), and dabbling with a new play.

But mostly working.

At one point, we had eight editions of Coffee News and did all of our layout, all of our own printing, and none of our own delivery.

We had no life.

Since January of ’10, we’ve had four editions and done all of our own layout, all of our own printing, and most of our own delivery.

Still no life.  And not much money.

Now, we’re not doing any of our own printing. Ah!

We’re doing a lot of delivery, still.

But we’re shedding the areas that aren’t working, and concentrating on more fully developing the areas that do.

We closed Huntersville in January.  In two weeks, we’ll be closing the Kannapolis edition and publishing three huge editions.

Our Salisbury edition does great.  All ad spaces are full, and there’s a bit of a waiting list.

Concord is doing great, and growing.

Mooresville is on the upswing.

By the end of October, we’ll be getting out of the delivery business — except for Salisbury (which is easy to deliver, since I live here and can handle it over two days).

This is just to say that we’re re-shaping the business.  Rather than working to grow bigger markets, we’re working to more fully penetrate the markets we’re in.  We want to create not only a successful business, but a better, more sustainable, more manageable business.  One with reduced potential, but reduced costs (and pressure).  One that is conducive to living an enjoyable life.

One that allows more time for writing.

A few notes from the navel-gazing-sphere

I haven’t blogged much lately.  Haven’t updated my Facebook status or Tweeted much either.

So I thought I’d just run through a few things that have been going on in my life.  If anybody’s interested, fine.  If nobody’s interested, that’s fine too.  A little public navel gazing helps me sort things out for myself.

Alicia and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary on Friday.  We didn’t go out that night because she had to get up very early Saturday morning and take Emma to Greensboro.  It’s been our tradition to go to a movie at the Manor in Charlotte on our anniversary, so we went Saturday night.  We saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a really good Swedish film.

I’ve been working on a full-length play, writing a page or two each morning.  Hopefully I’ll be done with a draft mid-summer.

I took my mom’s recycling and garbage to the street tonight, possibly for the last time.  I’ve been doing that on Sunday nights for many years — ever since street-side garbage collection began in Salisbury.  Her house was in use by relatives last weekend.  They made a lot of trash and didn’t take it out.

Business was slow in May, but we had one great week that really helped.  June has been okay so far.  Last week, I trained somebody to do some of our deliveries.  I’ve been doing about 350 of our 470 Coffee News locations each week.  He’ll do about 100 a week, which leaves me with 250.  That basically gives me an extra day each week.  It’s going to cost — but I think I’d rather have the time than the money.

I like summer.  I always have.  When it gets above 95 and stays above 85 at night, I complain as much as anybody else.  But I generally like hot weather.  Days like today don’t bother me at all.  We have AC.  Until about mid-way through my childhood, we didn’t.  In fact, we lived in the house we’re in now for two years before we got AC, in 1988.

My 2009 New Year’s resolution was to walk 10k steps a day each day of the year, and I’ve kept it up now almost a year and a half.

My 2010 resolution was to do yoga every day, and I’ve done that.  There have been a few days when I made it brief — ten or fifteen minutes.  Usually I spend thirty to forty minutes.  If I have the time, I’ll take an hour or even 90 minutes.  I pretty much stick to the same routine, but vary how long I stay in the poses.  It’s almost the exact same routine I’ve used since 1974.  I’ve always done yoga, but haven’t made it a daily routine since Sarah, our first child, was born.  Yoga requires a quiet house, and kids aren’t all that quiet — so my yoga was sporadic for 27 years.  Now that my daughter Emma is 17, has her driver’s license and a job, the house is quiet again.  This was a great resolution.  Daily yoga is ten times better than yoga two, three, or even four days a week.  I feel great and have lost 23 pounds.

I was a little sorry missed the Six Pack of Plays that Lee Street Theatre just produced.  I knew some of the playwrights and would have liked to support the effort.  I never got done with work in time.  Saturday was an option, but we wanted to celebrate our anniversary.  It would not have been kosher to attend those plays as an anniversary celebration.  I had some highly egocentric emotion over the whole affair because they didn’t pick my plays (the scripts didn’t conform to the guidelines).

I did put those rejected plays online — on this website — and received  an email yesterday from an international student in China.  He said he was just writing to thank me for the play.  He was an actor in Nice Name for a Sky.  That’s all he said.  It’s nice to know somebody is making use of the script.  I’d love to see a picture.

Alicia took our dog, Jackie, to the vet.  She got some pill for fleas and the dog feels a lot better.

I’m really enjoying my new car — an 85 Honda Civic station wagon that I bought two months ago.  It rides well, is easier to load and unload, and is easier to get in and out of than the ’94 Civic I got rid of.  Every once in awhile, a spark plug wire gets loose, but everything is cool when I pull over and push it back in place (as long as I don’t burn my hand).  Thursday, the speedometer/odometer stopped working.  I’ve got to get that fixed.  I like to know how fast I’m going.

I’ve been visiting my mom each day in the Alzheimer’s unit.  She spends her days shuffling up and down the halls.  I’ve enjoyed being there and have gained a lot of respect for the staff.  They are special people.  I’ve also enjoyed getting to know some the residents.  They’re each at their own stage, dealing with the disease in their own way — and some of them are a real trip.

So that’s about it — and now it’s after one o’clock in the a.m. and I’ve got some work to do!  And my own garbage and recycling (mostly recycling) to take out.

Inflammatory as a business plan

Last week, a few of my Facebook friends updated their statuses by informing the rest of us that the current President of the United States is “just like Hitler.”

To me, (and anybody else who is modestly informed and even the least bit rational) that’s big ol’ matza ball, hard as a rock, and impossible to swallow.

I remember people, on blogs, saying the same about George W.  I was no fan of W’s ways, but that was beyond the pale also.

I decided it was my responsibility, as a concerned citizen, to correct this weird assertion.

I don’t know much about history, but I do know that anybody can compare anything to anything else and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

I took a lot of history in college, but I wasn’t that good at it.  I’m no scholar in any subject.

But what a foul thing to say.

So I said so — and I tried my best to use tact, restraint, reason, and respect.

What came back was a flood of angry garbage.

Veering off the subject (surprise! surprise!) I got into a discussion with one guy about whether or not all this talk was inflammatory.  That led to a discussion about whether the term “Jewish Capitalism” was inflammatory.  Then I was told that if I knew anything about Judaism — my religion — that I would know we did not read the whole Bible, only the “toro” (his spelling).  This — from a person who was accusing me, from the outset, of being a socialist.

I wonder what he would have said if I had admitted that I was really quite fine being a socialist, and informed him that — whether he likes it or not — a proper interrogation would uncover the fact that he’s probably a socialist also.

He claimed his statements were not inflammatory.  Those who took it that way, he claimed, are too sensitive.

Sensitivity, in this context, was not a virtue but a character flaw.

Being sensitive to diversity — well…that’s another issue — too far out there for this conversation.  I couldn’t bring that up because I didn’t want to deal with the rebound.

In my view, we don’t get to choose what’s inflammatory.  We kind of know.  And, we get to choose whether or not be inflammatory or not.

I could have been inflammatory by pointing out, more directly, the level of ignorance within this whole conversation.  Both sides.

The bottom line was that all the folks in this discussion are repeating what they hear Rush Limbaugh say.

Ironic that they repeat his words and then defend them as truth and deny the inflammatory, offensive nature of the comments.

Inflammatory statements aren’t very effective in public discourse — but it’s good business.

It’s obvious, just from the clips I see on the news, that offending people is Rush Limbaugh’s business plan.  Why not admit it?