Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Year, Shot to Hell... But Not for Me!



For several various reasons which I won't bore you with now -- which is not to say I won't bore you with 'em later -- there are times when I feel as though I'm the oldest person on the planet.

Happily, however, such is not the case. There's at least one other, and January 30th is his birthday.

My writing partner, Skip Simpson, turns... well, let's just say, "one year older"... today.

And that's the real Skip Simpson I'm talking about, by the way, not "the Skipster," Skip's doppelgänger on our joint Simpson/Lynch Studios: Pleasantview blog. (Actually, the "Skipster's" birthday is also January 30th, but he's about 20 years younger than the real Skip. I know, I know, it gets complicated... and confusing. Especially for us.)

Aside from the official cry of "Happy Birthday, old chum!" -- "chum" being a phrase you rarely encounter outside of comic books, meaning either "close companion" or "fish scraps," and in this case you can take your pick, I suppose -- I should add that this is where I'd ordinarily go on and on and on about what a great friend and great writing partner he is and has been for nearly thirty years... but he's a tad behind with my payoff checks, so I won't.

Seriously: Let's all wish Skip a happy birthday, and many more... at least until he and I decide to cancel the Simpson/Lynch Studios: Pleasantview blog. Lord knows, I'd hate to have to go it alone!

Thanks for your time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Where Am I?

Those of you who may be missing my oh-so-wonderful creativity need to check out Simpson/Lynch Studios: Pleasantview, the blog I share with my writing partner, Skip Simpson. It's the continuing story of two main characters, the "Skipster" and the "Foxster" (loosely based on Skip and myself), and features an ever-growing supporting cast.

And it's some of the most imaginative stuff I've ever done in my life.

Right now, Skip and I are co-ordinating an interactive internet "event" on that blog, the grand opening of Kewl Beanz!, a coffeehouse & restaurant & nightclub. This event will last all day Tuesday, and will not only demand several posts from our joint blog, but also interact with several other wonderful Blogger-bloggers. I'll even be commenting wherever necessary in character as "the Foxster," for one day only!

You're invited to either participate (by signing up via the link below) or to "watch from a distance," as it were.

Thanks for your time. That is all.

Click here for more details, or just go to the

Friday, January 15, 2010

Call to Action?

Anyone who's even glimpsed at the news lately knows about the terrible earthquake in Haiti. It reminds me of an earlier time, and an earlier post.

I'll try not to go into too much detail here, but quite a few of you know that I began my first blog on Blogger, David'Z RantZ, just under two years ago. However, before finding its home on Blogger, David'Z RantZ existed in an earlier incarnation on a blogsite called DiaryLand. My blog actually began in late September or early October of 2003!

On January 7, 2005, approximately two weeks after the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and its resultant, devastating tsunami, I posted the following article to my blog. The earthquake and tsunami had caused between 184,000 and 230,000 deaths. (The difference is based on the total deaths which were confirmed, and the total of those deaths which were estimated.)

I "recycled" that post, entitled "Putting Things in Perspective," for my new David'Z RantZ on October 7, 2008. Here's most of it:

I guess we all need a wake-up call once in a while.
In my last RantZ entry, I dipped a little more deeply than usual into my personal "well," as it were, and more than implied that things in my personal life have pretty much depressed me for the past several months. There have been a few oases of nice occurrences, but I pretty much had the attitude of "sucks to be me." And this attitude uncharacteristically invaded my RantZ pages.
(Um. There's no actual apology forthcoming for that little anomaly, in case you're wondering. Each time you visit this page, you do so at your own risk, after all. "Enter freely and of your own free will," and all that.)
So, there I was, wallowing in my own little puddles of disappointment and hard times, although acknowledging somewhere in the back of my mind that there were & are people whose lives were progressing much, much more dismally than mine. But, as I often say to anyone who'll listen, "My broken finger hurts me more than your broken leg hurts... me." In other words, it's all relative, so my problems affect me more than your problems do, because they're... well... my problems. And no amount of sympathizing, empathizing, or any other kind of 'pathizing (No, it's not a word; don't bother looking it up!) with anyone else is gonna change that.
Well, usually not.
Anybody seen the news lately?
The death toll from the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis which assaulted Southeast Asia is still increasing. I won't go into great detail about this enormous tragedy, figuring that you know everything you want to know about it if you follow the news at all, and there's certainly nothing new that I can add in terms of overall information. But as I watched the estimated deaths increase by thousands every bulletin, it sort of made my own troubles -- some medical issues, a few late payments, a handful of skipped meals, an emotional disappointment or two (or even three) and some more things I won't mention here (or anywhere else, for that matter) -- pale by comparison. Estimates leaped by roughly twenty thousand at a time!
In fact, they still haven't halted the tally. The latest article (about an hour ago) I read had estimated 145,000 deaths. It's truly mind-boggling. And saddening.
Even more than having your defroster crack your car's windshield the day before you go for your inspection sticker.
(And no, I'm not making fun of them, I'm making fun of me. I can do that.)
Like I said, putting things in perspective...
Maybe that post made its nifty little point in a fairly inoffensive way, but not being part of the solution is being part of the problem, or so they say...
So at this point I'd like to direct you to the banner at the top of this page, right under my "Silver Fox" heading.
Briefly put, Operation USA is only one of a zillion charities helping out around the world, but I'm impressed by their 30-year track record... and how they actually use each dollar that you give them. They've been given the highest rating (four stars) by Charity Navigator, which -- if I understand their figures correctly -- says that Operation USA puts almost 98% of their donations toward actual relief, rather than huge staff salaries, administrative expenses, etc.! And if you know even as much about charities as I do -- which, admittedly, isn't much -- you know that that's an incredibly high percentage.
So, if you're inclined to give whatever you can afford, even if it's "next time" rather than in this specific instance, check 'em out.
Thanks for your time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Announcing "The Silver Fox's THRUST HOME Award!"


For reasons touched upon in my last post, my solo blogs are seeing very little in the way of new material. In fact, here it is, January 8th, and this is my very first post of the new year. And strangely enough, it's here more to showcase the work of others, rather than my own.

Read on, MacDuff...

Bloggers like to give each other awards. I've been honored with a few myself. One of the drawbacks to these awards is that they're usually given with a set of conditions. Quite often, one of these conditions is that the "awardee" is urged to write a post which tells obscure or relatively-unknown things about himself or herself. Another condition, one that's usually stressed more than any others, is that the awardee must "pass on" the award to a pre-ordained number of other bloggers, which has the unfortunate effect of turning the award itself into more of an internet chain letter than a true honor.

In fact, if everyone "tagged" in this manner followed suit, in no time at all every blog in existence would have an award of some kind. Regrettably, that tends to rob the award of its special qualities. Try to picture both you and me with Olympic Gold Medals for swimming, simply because those who'd actually won such medals were forced to pass them along!

Well, I'm only one person, a person whose opinion is of admittedly minuscule importance in the grand scheme of things, but I also like to take occasional notice of a blog or blog post which I find to be outstanding.

So I've created my own blasted award.

One of my all-time favorite stories is Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. I first encountered the tale in its Classics Illustrated comic book version, when I was not quite twelve years old. The ancient, musty-smelling edition I read was a first printing of the comic, published to coincide with the release of the motion picture starring Jose Ferrer. In those days, long before the introduction of VCRs, I had to wait fifteen years before I was actually able to see the film on TV!

Cyrano constantly used the expression "Thrust home!" when fatally piercing an opponent during a sword fight. I've appropriated that phrase for my new award:

As a surprise to virtually no one, I expect, I should
mention that the illustration for this award was drawn
and donated to my cause by none other than Skip Simpson,
who based it on a poster he found on the internet.

The Silver Fox's Thrust Home Award! -- Given to the Author of a Single Outstanding Blog Post.

And my rules for the award's... errr... awardment, and the rules for its recipients, are:
  1. This award will be given by me, and no one else, and generally to only one recipient at a time. (Today, however, there will be an exception to this rule. More later.)
  2. I'll only give the award to those whose posts have truly "thrust home" with me, so even my best friends on the 'net might never get one.
  3. The award will usually go to a post of what I, in my infinite -- or should that be infinitesimal? -- wisdom, deem to be of general import and interest... but that may be fudged once in a while to reflect my own biases. (My award, my stupid rules. Deal with it.)
  4. There will be no set frequency for the giving of the award. It's not a weekly or monthly kinda thing. I might give two in a given week. I might give one, and then not give another for months.
  5. Theoretically, a recipient of The Silver Fox's Thrust Home Award! may win once, twice... or 47 times! This is an award for individual blog posts, not for blogs!
  6. Recipients would be asked to mention their receipt of said award on their own sites, along with a corresponding link to my own. And a little blurb on your sidebar -- feel free to copy and paste the graphic, of course! -- would be greatly appreciated.
  7. Winners are not allowed to give this award to others.
  8. Other than that, awardees are not asked to do anything else. Heck, you've already done it!
And now, without further ado...

While I've been busy with my own life and -- later -- preparing this award for public dissemination, not one but two blog posts "thrust home" with me. Therefore, in order of their publication, I hereby award The Silver Fox's Thrust Home Award! to the following blogs and their authors (Clicking on the blog's bold-faced title will bring you to the latest post, while, as you've probably surmised, clicking on the title of the "winning" post will bring you to that post itself.):

1. Roy's World, "No Going Back," November 30, 2009

Fellow New Englander and self-described "old hippie" Roy Hilbinger continually provides fascinating posts and intriguing photos. (He also happens to be one of the few people out there who often posts items of musical note -- pun intended -- from which a largely self-satisfied musical trivia know-it-all like myself can learn!) I heartily recommend his blog in general, of course, but he is receiving the very first TSFTHA for a long, incredible post he wrote about religion in general, and the Baha'i Faith in particular. It's a touchy subject -- religion almost always is -- but Roy handled it admirably. Congratulations, Roy!


AngelMay is a remarkably adept writer. My humble words cannot do justice to hers, you might say, so all I'll attempt to do here is to lead you in the right direction. She's won the TSFTHA for a post about the plight of women, both worldwide and in our so-called "enlightened" society. In lesser hands, this post could have been trite and clichéd... but not hers. Congratulations, AngelMay!

And with that... Thanks for your time.

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