Grateful for the Chance…

There are many times I question the “wisdom” of crafting blog posts for a blog that few* people read.

*4-6 folks, roughly, although that staggering number drops precipitously if you subtract relatives.

Any objective observer would consider it a waste of time and money. I should just buy a journal and write in that. Same readership, without the hassle and expense of maintaining a web presence. (Believe it or not, I actually have to PAY for the highly coveted, much-sought-after domain name of “”)

But then I get a note like this from my friend and co-worker:

Wow! So one of my trivial posts on my silly little blog actually played a very tiny role in helping kickstart something that will bring more gratefulness and joy into the world? I’m flabbergasted! (And flabby too… probably from too much time sitting on my butt blogging.)

Here’s more about the event:

Grateful Gatherings are monthly conversations with purpose, designed by Grateful Living and hosted by people like Harmony co-president Susan Jackson who have completed their training program. Each month we’ll be exploring the transformative practice of grateful living, using the resources provided by Grateful Living. Our monthly topics will include things like: Say Yes to JoyWelcome ImperfectionNavigate GriefReimagine RestAwaken to Awe, and Act with Courage.

Suddenly all those countless hours spent blogging seem worthwhile. Especially if we’re grading success on the Emerson scale:

Susan’s first Grateful Gathering will take place on Sunday, April 28, at 10 a.m. at Moonflower Coffee Collective in Sharonville. Damn right I’ll be there! Because I’m forever grateful that Susan read some silly little blog post in the first place.

This is just the incentive I needed to continue with my blog posts! It’s so much better than the usual feedback I receive, which falls into one of two categories:

D.C. Follies

While I was in D.C. (see previous post), I spent a fair amount of time walking. I pretty much went wall-to-wall on the National Mall. From the Capitol to the Supreme Court to the White House (3 government branches in one stroll!) to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

My friend Kevin, who has lived in D.C. for 20 years, suggested I check out the FDR Memorial. I’m glad he did. It’s different from the other memorials, and was quite interesting and thought-provoking.

Though I’ve been to D.C. before, my previous visit was many moons ago, before the MLK Jr. Memorial was built. So I visited that powerfully moving site as well.

I also visited the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It was a bit disappointing to see that most of the crowd was more interested in the Star Wars droids than in the displays on, say, transportation, or Hispanic women in broadcasting, but that meant more space for me…

And on a rainy morning, I spent a couple of hours at the National Art Gallery. I found a portrait subject who is a dead ringer for my oldest son Gabriel.

And I found a portrait of guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw of Styx (and Damn Yankees!).

At least, I think that’s who it was. Then again, maybe I spent too much time staring at Star Wars droids.

Of course, no visit to our nation’s capital would be complete without a visit to…. drumroll please… the Morgan Fairchild star on the sidewalk outside some theater:

Her hair alone should be a national monument.

And she’s given so much to this great nation of ours. Dallas. Falcon Crest. And the ultimate achievement: co-hosting Battle of the Network Stars XIV with Howard Cosell.

God Bless America!

Give the Drummer Some

In other words, you rock! Your song “has a good beat, and you can dance to it.”

You may not be in rhythm with everyone else. But someone else will pick up what you’re laying down.

Stay cool. Stay funky!

And bang the drum all day!

[I’m grateful for the daily dose of grateful quotes from Grateful Living.]

Some Stuff about Stuff

This short Paul Graham essay from 2007 should be required reading for every American. In fact, we should have to read it at least once a year. Maybe around spring cleaning time.

Stuff is an extremely illiquid asset… The only way you’re ever going to extract any value from it is to use it. And if you don’t have any immediate use for it, you probably never will.

Companies that sell stuff have spent huge sums training us to think stuff is still valuable. But it would be closer to the truth to treat stuff as worthless.

In fact, worse than worthless, because once you’ve accumulated a certain amount of stuff, it starts to own you rather than the other way around. I know of one couple who couldn’t retire to the town they preferred because they couldn’t afford a place there big enough for all their stuff. Their house isn’t theirs; it’s their stuff’s.

Stuff takes up space. Not just in your home, but also in your head.

And unless you’re extremely organized, a house full of stuff can be very depressing. A cluttered room saps one’s spirits. One reason, obviously, is that there’s less room for people in a room full of stuff. But there’s more going on than that. I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model of what’s around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally exhausting.

I’m certainly guilty as charged on buying too much stuff, especially when it’s a “bargain.”

But one thing that might work is to ask yourself, before buying something, “is this going to make my life noticeably better?”

Stuff sticks around. It can haunt you.

The purchase price is just the beginning. You’re going to have to think about that thing for years—perhaps for the rest of your life. Every thing you own takes energy away from you. 

It’s better to free up some headspace for memories of life experiences, not stuff. Things like travel… or just time spent with good friends.

If I want to spend money on some kind of treat, I’ll take services over goods any day.

If you don’t take it from Paul Graham, maybe George Carlin can convince you:

Wrestling with Writing. And Vice Versa.

A few days ago, Cincinnati Magazine sent out an email touting their most popular stories of the year, with a three-pronged qualifier:

I’m not sure if they consider “pro wrasslin'” a sport. Doubtful. But I’m going to convince myself that they DO consider it a sport. How else could you explain the fact that the photo essay I wrote back in June didn’t make the list?

OK, I won’t delude myself any longer. Heck, I won’t even dupe myself into thinking that the “essay” part was the main event – Grant Moxley‘s photos were the real stars of the show.

But honestly, I wouldn’t care if the article was the least popular one of 2023. If you had told 10-year-old Dubbatrubba “in the future someone will pay you to attend a low-budget wrestling event, interview some wrestlers, and write a brief story about it” I’d have been so happy that I would’ve given you a celebratory Brainbuster. Or maybe a Camel Clutch. Or a Figure Four Leglock.

As a wee lad, the highlight of my rural Arkansas Saturday mornings was tuning in to professional wrestling on one of the two TV stations that we could get via our crappy rooftop antenna. (If you’re keeping score, they were the NBC and CBS stations out of Little Rock, a good 100 miles away. The ABC affiliate’s signal wasn’t as strong, thus I was denied a chance to see Happy Days in its prime. Talk about deprivation!)

I loved watching old-school pros like Dusty Rhodes, Andre the Giant, Ernie “Cat” Ladd, Sugar Ray Candy, and the Iron Sheik. I knew it was mostly an act, but it was a great escape from the challenges of everyday life. (And growing up poor in rural Arkansas, there were plenty of those!)

So when Cincinnati Magazine editor John Fox — an longtime friend of mine — asked me if I could write a photo essay about a minor-league wrestling organization based in town, I was ecstatic.

I loved the chance to connect my childhood avocation with my current vocation. It was an absolute blast!

I may never be a world champion in writing (or even win the “intercontinental belt” whatever that is), but at least I’m in the ring, taking my best shot.

P.S. having attended a Northern Wrestling Federation event where one wrestler did a backflip off the top rope and landed on another wrestler outside the ring, with only a thin piece of plywood protecting them from the concrete floor, here’s my response to anyone who tries to tell me that pro wrasslin’ is “fake.”

Out, Damned “Out”

The pandemic may be over, but it created another scourge that’s spreading like wildfire in the business world: the superfluous “out” used with “share.”

“We’ll share out the PowerPoint deck after this meeting.”

“I can share my notes out with the rest of the team.”

Here, let me help you:

“We’ll share out the PowerPoint deck after this meeting.”

“I can share my notes out with the rest of the team.”

There, fixed them for you!

“Share” — in this sense — implies a distribution.

And there’s not a “share in”… right? So there’s no need for the “out.”

I don’t think I ever heard “share out” before the lockdown started. Maybe because everyone was cooped up IN their basement office, the “out” represented a desire to break down the new barriers… but hearing it is like nails on a chalkboard for me.

I won’t rest until “share out” has been eradicated. And the only known cure is raising awareness. If you hear someone using the term “share out”… ask them to restate the sentence without the “out.” (They’ll hate you for being a pedant, but such is the price we pay for better grammar.)

Remember, just “share” is enough…

(Unofficial spokesperson for the committee to stop the use of “share out”)