Old news

I’ve been having some trouble with WordPress. I don’t know how much is the blog app or whether my competer and browser have simply gotten too old.
Well, I’ll try typing blind.
IT was a full moon.

And this is what happened:

And this:

And finally this:

Fortunately, it was not my apartment that burned, but an upstairs unit.

I was a temporary refugee. Building is still a mess and many of the tenants have relocated. But I’m staying put. I just hate to move.


Cleaning house

Time to clean house, update files, unclutter the computer, restore order. Do the dishes. Put away the laundry. Purge that hulking pile of paper and crap.

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the recent miniburst of activity on the blog and so forth.

Been living a pretty slothful life for the last, oh, I dunno, year or so.

Time for control + alt + delete 2.0. Maybe defrag the hard drive and purge some files. Figuratively and literally.

Who knows? Maybe a change of scenery would do me good.

That’s all for now.


Dream analysis

I had one of those weird dreams last night/this morning.

Apparently I was somewhat aware I was dreaming. I was analyzing a dream in this dream. I reached the conclusion that it was about feelings of guilt. Or perhaps more precisely, it was about regret. Two related but different things. You can regret things or moments you feel guilty about. But can also regret things you have or haven’t done haven’t done and looking back, wish you had done differently.

Maybe a career choice. Plenty of regrets there. Maybe failing to pursue a potential relationship. A regret or two there. Seafood or steak? Or something more adventurous. Ah, maybe a regret or two there. They come in all sizes.

I don’t remember specifics of this particular dream (or was it a series of dreams? Not uncommon). But I’m pretty sure it was about regret.

And to quote the Butthole Surfers: “The funny thing about regret is it’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.”

To enjoy this fine video in full, click here (I promise, no Rick-roll)



I’ve noticed that my blogging tends to go in fits and starts. Sometimes I’ll forget it’s there and let it lie dormant for a month. Or three. Then it’ll erupt in spasm of photos, thoughts, rants and so forth. I think I’m on the verge of an eruption.

Rumble, rumble …



Control + Alt + Delete

PC users know that control + alt + delete is the universal command to restart your computer. And now my life needs a restart.

Time to reboot. Control + Alt + Delete.

This has been a long time coming. After years of struggling, we’ve come to the point that we have to start over. A series of setbacks, mistakes and a bit of bad luck have brought me to this point.

My house is a perfect metaphor for my life: It’s slowly falling apart and in a few months, the house will be gone. I don’t expect my life to be “gone,” but it will soon be radically altered. Goodbye house, goodbye marriage. Hello, bankruptcy.

This didn’t happen overnight, and rebuilding a life doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens nonetheless.

After a pretty good run as an editor for Knight Ridder newspapers, things went south. Newspaper circulation and ad revenues declined dramatically in the 2000s, and many media outlets (not just newspapers — TV and radio too) were forced to make radical staffing cuts. And guess who found himself on the chopping block? That happened after Knight Ridder ceased to exist, the result of combined revenue loss, competition from Internet sites, and unrealistic profit demands from institutional stock holders. Really, maintain a 20 percent profit margin in 2006? McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder, then sold off the less “desirable” papers in the chain. So in the course of a couple of months, the Akron Beacon Journal changed hands twice. Enter the new owner, who saw the books and realized he’d paid too much. And you know what that means: Chop, chop, chop.

And so I bounced from assignment to assignment, with some occasional gaps in between, picking up anything I could find in a mostly crappy economy. Our finances suffered, saving was wiped out, and the marriage suffered. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that, but my wife was accustomed to a certain level of comfort — not extravagant, but solidly middle-class — and that existence evaporated. Poof! Gone. She blamed me for that.

It finally reached the point that she said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Can’t argue much with that. Quite simply, we have grown apart over the last few years. We don’t have fun together; we don’t do much of anything together except squabble.

So, control + alt + delete.

Then a funny thing happened recently: Saw an opening for a copy editing job in Elyria, not too far up the road. Yesterday was my first day on the job (Talk about burying the lead!). And at one moment last night, I thought to myself, “I am among my people.”

The reboot is happening.


About that ebola thing

I’ve had a lot of fun jesting about the ebola virus mass hysteria ever since somebody came down with the frightening disease in the United States. I joked that I got ebola from pumpkin spice latte, and probably a half-dozen other suspicious parties. Until today. Suddenly the contagious disease has a local connection or two. And people are frightened.

Public Enemy No. 1

Public Enemy No. 1

So a healthcare worker who had contact with the ebola patient who died in Dallas  visited family this week in Tallmadge, Ohio (an Akron ‘burb), including some who work at Kent State University. She was diagnosed with ebola after she returned to Dallas via a plane that flew out of Cleveland. The CDC says she had no symptoms while on that flight or  while visiting in NE Ohio. BUT, given the CDC’s recent performance in dealing with the ebola scare, it has a bit of a credibility problem. Was she really asymptomatic, does ebola really only transmit via bodily fluids, is it only contagious after symptoms begin to show?

Suddenly folks in Akron and Tallmadge and Kent State and anyone at Cleveland Hopkins Airport are worried about being exposed to this super-scary virus.

OK, to sum up:

One person has died from ebola in the United States. Thousands have reportedly died in continental Africa during the recent outbreak and it is not showing signs of slowing down. The CDC says the virus is only contagious via direct exposure to bodily fluids of an infected patient and that the U.S. healthcare system is vastly better prepared to contain any outbreak than the Third World is.

BUT (You saw this coming, right?):

What if the ebola virus mutates? What if we don’t really know all there is to know about this bug? I mean, ebola is a relatively new phenomenon, unlike smallpox or chickenpox or measles or the flu or the common cold. Or even AIDS. Many of these viruses can be transmitted through the air or surface contact. And many of these can be transmitted before any symptoms begin to show.

This is direct from the CDC website:

“A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs.”

So what happens if ebola mutates to the point that it is transmissible 1 to 2 days before symptoms begin to show? What if it can be transmitted via a sneeze or a doorknob?

Well, then we might have cause for mass hysteria.

Those of us around in the mid-1980s and early ’90s remember the AIDS scare. At that time getting HIV/AIDS was a guaranteed death sentence. People feared it was transmissible through mosquito bites (it’s not) or kissing or simply shaking hands (not and not). Medical research improved after a few years, drugs to combat the virus became more effective and prevention of the spread of the disease got better. But in the meantime, a lot of people died. I lost several friends.

It’s still pretty early in this saga to suggest this is the next bubonic plague or one of the flu epidemics that killed millions of people in past outbreaks.

And as many pundits have correctly pointed out, thousands of people die each year from the flu and car accidents, cancer, heart disease and so forth. Yet these deadly afflictions don’t trigger mass panic.

A year from now, this could turn out to be meh, whatever.

Oh, and I just learned I got ebola from a squirrel in my yard. Little bastard!