Advertainment: Product Placement Makes Crap Crappier

[I‘m working on a new column about product placement on “Days of Our Lives“, where plugs for Cheerios, Chex Mix, and Midol have been written into recent scripts, when I realized I wrote about something similar four years ago. Look below!]

Good news: Television commercials are nearly extinct. The rise of TiVo, DVRs, broadband video downloads, and other commercial-eliminating viewing methods are making the 30-second TV advertising spot a thing of the past.

Coke on Idol
Hey, Paula’s Coca-Cola logo is facing the wrong way! Fired!

Bad news: Television commercials are alive and well, and living inside the television shows we watch.

Product placement in television shows and movies is replacing the 30-second commercial as the prime way to promote product. Some reality shows are built around product placement. Contestants on The Apprentice recently competed to produce a Microsoft commercial. Survivor contestants win Hondas. Fear Factor contestants win pre-paid Visa cards.

Scripted Entertainment, Real Bullshit

Oreos on Friends
Oreos on Friendsthe only thing palatable about this bland show.

But reality shows are a mutation of traditional game shows, which often have corporate sponsors (doesn’t anyone give away boxes of Rice-A-Roni anymore?) But what’s happening now is brand name products are appearing more and more prominently on fictional shows, as well.

The first time I saw an episode of 24 I thought it was one long commercial for cell phones; the characters are forever jabbering away, even when they’re jumping from airplanes and/or getting shot at. And I get a kick out of the banks of Apple computers seen in the headquarters on 24. It’s highly unlikely a top-notch government security agency like CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) would be using a bunch of Macs, unless they were mixing a hip-hop album or editing video. But Apple is smart; for years they’ve been giving Hollywood honchos free stuff, and, as a result, their products pop up frequently in films and television shows. Apple computer only has 10 percent of the personal computer market, yet it seems like 80 percent of the fictional characters on TV use them.

Product placement really works. After Drew Barrymore laid out a line of Reese’s Pieces to lure E.T. out of hiding in 1982, sales for the peanut buttery treat shot up 65%. In 1993’s The Firm, Gene Hackman urges Tom Cruise to “grab a Red Stripe” during his visit to the Cayman Islands. Within a month of the film’s release, sales of the Jamaican-brewed beer had increased by 50% in the United States, and few weeks later, company owners sold a majority stake of Red Stripe to Guinness Brewing Worldwide for $62 million. And Ray-Ban sunglasses have movies like Risky Business (1983) and Men In Black (1997) to thank for their brisk sales.

bond_product
You’d be super-spy cool if you had this overpriced Omega watch.

Money Talks, So Say What The Advertiser Wants

Today there are several companies and web-based agencies that facilitate product placement, hooking advertisers up with the producers who need props. On the NextMedium web site, movie studios, TV networks, and videogame producers can post scripts with specific product requests and advertisers can bid on the available placement opportunities. Once a deal is done, NextMedium will measure the exposure of that placement by determining how many people saw it and how a brand’s total exposure compares with that of competitors.One of the beautiful things about product placement, as far as advertisers are concerned, is that the footage lives forever in reruns and DVD releases.

You can’t blame advertisers for wedging their products into fictional shows. Their advertising budgets are paying for the production for these programs, and if people aren’t going to watch their commercials, they’re going to get their money’s worth somehow. But it cheapens an already sordid art form. How long before we see Tony Soprano asking Paulie Walnuts how he gets his shirts so clean and white? Or Jack Bauer launches into a monologue on Cingular’s new calling plans?

pepsi in Waynes World
At least Wayne and Garth had funny with the over-the-top product placements in Wayne’s World.

I prefer the old days of entertainment, when a sneaker was any old shoe, and soft drinks were served in non-descript glasses, not cans with the labels turned to conveniently face the camera. Keep commercials in designated commercial breaks, and leave the soft selling out of fictional forms of entertainment.

-30-

Reprinted courtesy of WAYNE TODAY, October 2006

Why County Clerks Suck

[Here’s another classic rant from 1998. I’m pretty sure county clerks are still selling your name and phone number to telemarketers. And they still suck. Interesting, back in ’98 I was bitching about telemarketers disrupting my Saturday morning tea-and-writing sessions. Now weekends are packed with kids, chores, kids, errands, kids, home improvements, and kids. But I’m not bitching about it. It’s pretty awesome, actually.]

yell at phone
“Sorry to complain, Ms. Tomlin, but I wish the county clerk’s office wouldn’t sell my personal info to telemarketers!”

The phone is ringing, but I’m not going to answer it.

It’s a quiet Saturday morning. The dogs have been fed and walked. I’ve got a steaming mug of tea next to my computer, and I’m settling in, preparing to write a column. I’ve got a good, juicy topic —

There goes the phone again. Ignore it.

Anyway, the column is about Passaic County office workers selling the names, addresses, and phone numbers of local residents to junk mail companies. Evidently it’s a longstanding and lucrative side business for employees in the County Clerk’s office and the Register of Deeds. There’s nothing illegal about it — the records are public. Instead of hiring an outside researcher to gather the names, it’s quicker and easier for marketing firms to have people on the “inside” who can funnel the data to them as soon as it comes in.

Ugh, the phone again. This is the third time in 40 minutes. This time I answer it.

You’re Talking To An Idiot

“Hello?”

“Hello. Is this Robert … Ferrera?”

My middle initial is F (for Francis – hey, no laughing!). People who are reading my name off official documents often merge Robert F. Errera into Robert Ferrera. It’s a dead giveaway I’m talking to a salesman (or, as they say in the ’90s, “customer service representative“).

“Yeah, this is Robert,” I say, because I am an idiot.

“Mr. Ferrera, I’m calling today to offer you five cents per minute on all your weekend long distance calls …”

This continues for a full three minutes. The perky female on the other end of the line is good, barely pausing for breath as she chronicles the amazing deal she is offering. Finally, there is a lull in her diatribe and I see a chance to get a word in edgewise.

“Uh, thanks but I’m really not interested.”

“But Mr. Ferrera, with this select plan, you can save up to 50 percent on all your long distance calls…”

She goes on for another full minute, picking up momentum and showing no sign of slowing.

“Look, I’m really not interested,” I say, way past annoyed.

“But why, Mr. Ferrera? The service is free for 30 days and you can cancel at any time…”

These are the last words I hear before hanging up. Considered me canceled.

Cold Calls Make Me Hot

Back at my desk, the tea has cooled. I plow through the first two paragraphs of this column before the phone starts ringing again. I’m beginning to see the irony here. A glutton for punishment, I answer the phone.

complaining on phone
“I’m not Mr. Ferrera, you twit! Now stop calling me!”

“Hello, is this Mr. Ferrera?”

“He isn’t in right now, can I take a message?” I’m so clever.

“No, this is just a courtesy call. We’d like to offer Mr. Ferrera the opportunity to upgrade his windows before winter arrives. Do you think this is something he might be interested in?”

“I don’t know, and frankly it’s not my place to authorize any home improvements. You’ll have to call back some other time.”

You can see where I’m going with this. If county workers hadn’t sold my personal information to a bunch of marketing firms, maybe I could get some work done. I’ll never begrudge someone the opportunity to make extra money—lots of people, myself included, need it to make ends meet. But by doing their part-time job, these county employees have made my part-time job more difficult. The moonlighting county workers say they aren’t paid enough, and need extra income. I say quit disrupting the lives of the residents who employ you, and find a new part-time gig. (After this column, I’m sure there are plenty of county workers who’ll wish the same for me.)

The phone rang two more times since finishing this column. I didn’t answer it. The dogs bark at the postman, and I check to see what he’s brought. The mailbox is overflowing with junk — leaflets advertising aluminum siding, carpet cleaning, and discount pizzas.

In the distance I hear the demonic cackle of a county worker.

Ha-ha, Francis.

-30-

Reprinted courtesy of WAYNE TODAY, December 1998.

Revisiting Fatherhood Boot Camp This Father’s Day!

[This is one of my wife’s favorites. Originally published in March 2002, and revised for Father’s Day 2013]

In honor of Father’s Day, June 16, I’d like to travel back to before I was Autism Dad, when I was just “a new dad.”

rocco belly time
Rocco enjoying belly time @ 5 months.

The moment my son was born, I realized I held the most precious gift in the world in my arms, a gift I was unworthy of, yet responsible for, nonetheless. I was in way over my head.

But I was eager to learn, and my son taught me a lot those first six weeks. Here’s how I saw it back in 2002:

>>>>>

Six weeks of fatherhood, and already I’m defining myself by the way my kid sees me. I am Thick, Hairy Arms that lift him up and down (which is different from Mom’s Soft, Smooth Arms). I am Smiling Moon Face with Glasses. I am Stinky Breath at 4 a.m. Beard Stubble Man. I am Waiter, Maid, Chauffeur, Personal Assistant, Wipe My Butt Guy.

Actually my wife is all of these things and more. I’m the Assistant Waiter, Assistant Maid, etc. But in the past six weeks I’ve gotten a good dose of fatherhood … and I like it!

Like any new job, everything’s fun and exciting right now. I’m sure there will be days ahead that won’t be so much fun. But after completing six weeks, I’d say fatherhood is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and rewarding jobs I’ve ever had.

My son, Rocco, taught me many things in a short time. We already have much in common, like big meals and long naps. Rocco helped me rediscover the joy of life’s simple pleasures. A warm blanket is good. A wet bottom is bad. A big dog licking your face is startling at first … but funny!

Rocco taught me to appreciate sunrises, which I have seen more of in the last six weeks than in all of my 34 years prior. In fact, the whole sleep deprivation aspect of parenthood is something my wife and I severely underestimated. It’s brutal.

Most importantly, Rocco shared one of life’s great secrets with me. When I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder, “Why am I here? What’s my purpose in the universe?” all I have to do is peek in his bassinet and go, “Oh. Yeah.”

It’s not that my life didn’t have meaning or significance before my son was born. It’s that everything up until now seems like practice. I have seen the future, and it wears a onesie. And when I cradle tomorrow in my arms, it feels as light as a feather.

rocco @ 6 months
Rocco @ 6 months … I’m still enjoying the job as much as I did @ 6 weeks!

>>>>>

The future has gotten heavier, and wears jeans, t-shirts, and beat up sneakers now. The future also wears pretty dresses and Hello Kitty hair bows (my daughter, Francesca, was born in 2003). The future is also getting hairy legs.

But I feel the same now as I did in 2002. My children continue to inspire me, and give my life meaning and purpose. Their wonder and devotion enriches every moment of every day. If anything, my love for my children has grown stronger, more intense, over the past 11 years.

And I expect it always will.

Happy Father’s Day!

-30-

Reprinted courtesy of WAYNE TODAY, March 2002

Proud parents await Millennium’s birth

[Being a columnist allows you to chronicle the way your opinion changes (or doesn’t) over time — sometimes drastically and embarrassingly so. Nowhere is this more evident than the column below. In February 1999 I was single, childless and carefree. Compare the column below with the next one I’ll post from 2002, six weeks after becoming a father. Yeah, I know I was sort of an arrogant a-hole in 1999. Even though my feelings toward children have changed, that hasn’t.]

stop making babies
“Stop making babies” — sound advice!

Last month we discussed the Y2K bug and how it might affect air travel around the turn of the millennium. Today we’ll look at another symptom of the Y2K bug: Baby Fever.

A recent study shows that more and more young couples are competing for the honor of having the first millennium baby. The belief is that a baby born at midnight, January 1, 2000 is doubly blessed. Currently these couples are checking their ovulation cycles and making plans to fornicate on cue. The ideal time to conceive a millennium baby is late March/early April of this year—in short, any time now.

Breeders Not Welcome

My advice to young couples planning to have children is: DON’T DO IT! There are enough people on this planet already. There are plenty of unloved children who need new Mommies and Daddies if you’re really feeling paternal. Everyone, please, STOP BREEDING!

Of course, my advice will fall on deaf ears, and the babies will keep on coming. Most babies are born not out of love, but out of vanity (“Oh honey, I hope our baby has your eyes and my nose” and/or “A baby boy will carry on the family name”). Yes, your child will have physical features similar to you and your spouse (at least, you hope so).

But your child will also inherit other traits from Mommy and Daddy, like neurotic behaviors and bad table manners. With apologies to all expectant parents out there, no matter how good of a parent you think you’ll be, chances are you’ll screw up somewhere along the line. Your child will grow up to be another flawed adult who will propagate the cycle all over again. You won’t give birth to next Albert Einstein. You won’t give birth to the next Jeffrey Dahmer. You’ll give birth to the next average Jane or Joe, only they’ll look a little like you and for the first ten years of their life they’ll look up to you and think you have all the answers until they realize you’re as clueless about life as they are. I commend young couples for wanting to bring a new, hopeful life into the world, but frankly, the gene pool does not need your contribution.

Vanity, Thy Name Is Mom and Dad

If the average couple breeds out of vanity, Millennium Fever Couples take it to a whole new level. Their New Years’ baby will be revered, and, as the child’s proud parents, they will be put up on the pedestal, too. They’re not thinking of the lifetime commitment or the emotional and financial obligations that come with child rearing. They’re thinking only of their 15 minutes of fame when “Good Morning America” and “Dateline NBC” come calling to run a feature on their bouncing baby. Vanity, thy name is Mommy and Daddy.

As you can see, the Y2K bug affects not only computers but human machines as well. It threatens to send them into an irrational state where nonsense and short-sightedness chase each other in an endless loop. I can tell you exactly when the best time to conceive a Millennium Baby is—April Fool’s Day.

-30-

Originally published in Wayne TODAY, February 1999

Let’s Burn The Dead And Heat Our Homes

According to New York Daily News columnist, Jay Maeder, two high-tech crematoriums in Sweden are piping posthumous candlepower to local energy companies. In short, the bodies of the dead are now heating thousands of Swedish homes.

crematorium
DEAD HEAT — Using the heat from crematoriums to power homes? Dying to try it out!

This has caused quite a public uproar in Sweden, a controversy fueled all the more by the fact that the crematoriums kept their newfound energy source secret for six months. Company officials are quick to defend the practice.

“It only makes sense,” says Helsingborg crematory official Sorje Stolt. “It’s environmentally friendly and relatives can console themselves knowing that the death of a loved one benefits the whole community!”

Church leaders are rather put off by the whole deal (“No one wants Aunt Astrid heating up the living room!”), though some have to admit, the idea of harassing the power of burning corpses does  follow the old “ashes to ashes” schematic.

People Are The New Fossil Fuel

Adopting this “putting the dead to work” ideal globally makes a  twisted kind of sense. Hey, look at the dinosaurs; we use their remains to heat our homes every day. Using “fresher” fossil fuels is, well, you know, just forward thinking.

Besides, the results of burning the dead for fuel would be spectacular. When a beloved individual (like Mother Teresa or Princess Di) ventured to the Great Beyond, we could hold a magnificent public ceremony, dedicate a light bulb in their eternal memory, and then haul their carcass into the fire. It’s so primal, so…Viking. It is any wonder that this controversy originates from Sweden?

Although this “death warmed over” idea may appeal to energy conservationists, there’s something unquestionably ghoulish about it. It is said that a society’s compassion can be judged by how well they treat their dead. Burning them for fuel ranks pretty low on the scale, right above selling hunks of human flesh to soup kitchens and using severed heads as paperweights.

I’m not sure when these “burning” ideas will reach America’s shores, but I bet when they do, some people will be all fired up, while others will be dying to give them a try. Heh, heh, heh.

-30-

Originally published in Wayne TODAY, Sept. 1997

Waiting For The Great American Cell Phone Novel

Excuse me, I feel a little queasy – I’ve been experiencing keitai shosetsu.

RIN mobile author
Rin, 21, wrote a mobile phone novel, with 400,000 hardcover sales.

What’s keitai shosetsu? A new Asian flu?

Not exactly. Keitai shosetsu are “cell phone novels” and they’ve been all the rage in Japan and China for the last decade.  Yeah, novels written on cell phones in tiny, 100-word chunks and delivered in installments to other cell phone users.

How popular are keitai shosetsu in Japan? In the first half of 2007, five of the country’s top 10 bestselling novels were written on mobile phones, selling an average of 400,000 copies apiece. That’s got Japanese print publishers happy, while Japanese literary critics decry the form as tawdry and lurid.

Now, with the rise of “unlimited texting” plans and cheap, QWERTY-keyboarded handsets, cell phone novels are making their way to America. There are already several web sites dedicated to helping people get their cell phone novels out to the public.

Pro and Cons of Cell Phone Scribing

Will the cell phone novel fly in America? Will people take the time to bring their own inner novel to life – in tiny 140 character chunks? Seems silly, but the cell phone novel is an interesting idea for a number of reasons:

  • a)     Writing a novel on a cell phone solves the age-old writer’s dilemma of “never having time to write.” You can write anytime you have a few moments and a free thumb. And it solves the reader’s dilemma of never having time to read. These are novels broken down into text messages – everybody’s got time for a text message.
  • b)    The cell phone novel offers an immediacy and connection with the reader that traditional paper and ink books lack. Readers can comment on the book as it is being written and help shape its development.  It’s a new kind of interactive, user-directed fiction.
  • c)     Cell phone novels are portable, and private (nobody can see what kind of trash you’re reading on your handset!) and since they’re downloaded directly to your phone they save you a trip to the bookstore. Plus they are enviro-friendly: no more dead trees and stinky paper mills.
  • d)    Cell phone novels use new technology to revive an old form. Telling stories in serial form dates back to One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol), Sir Author Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), and Stephen King (The Green Mile) have all published serial novels. Plus traditional Japanese keitai shosetsu is heavy on teen melodrama; a form that never goes out of style. If the cell phone novel has an American audience it’s probably among the Gossip Girl/Twilight crowd.
  • e)     Once upon a time, when kings and queens ruled the land, the poet was the top of the literary food chain; they earned the most money and commanded the most respect. Nowadays most poets can’t earn enough from their writing to buy a cup of latte (unless they’ve sold out to write advertising copy). But the cell phone’s space constraints demands an economy of words that the poet is uniquely qualified to deliver.  The rise of the cell phone novel could mean the rebirth of the poet…or, at the very least, a new market for crafted verse.
  • f)     Using cell phones as a writing tool encourages more non-writers to write, and the World of Letters always needs new blood infusions to stay alive. As a writer myself, I should think that anything that gets people using written words to express themselves is a good thing, right?

Well…yeah, but…I’ve got some problems with this last one. Because “texting” isn’t writing. There are elements of writing – word choice, sentence structure, narrative flow – that you can only learn through reading and studying how things are written.  Maybe everybody has a story to tell, but not everybody has the tools to be a writer.

You are supposed to be able to write competently by the time you graduate high school. But look at 90 percent of Internet blogs, and you’ll see that is not the case. Even though there are more opportunities than ever for people to express themselves as writers, people have never been more ill-equipped to seize those opportunities.

You’d think that having the chance to reach millions of readers would make people want to become better writers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case either.  Japanese cell phone novelist Katsura Okiyama won a keitai shosetsu contest that earned her cash and a print publishing deal. But before tapping out her prize-winning story, she admits, “I had never written a story…I had never liked reading either.” She developed her style writing 100 text messages a day and using the same format and tone for her fictional story.

The Slush Pile is Everywhere!

At the risk of sounding like a pompous elitist, cell phone novels allow a lot of non-writers the opportunity to unleash their inner Stephen King or Danielle Steele and while I’m all for free expression, I’d rather see somebody take time to shape their writing before sharing their masterpiece with the world. Writing is a craft, a skill, a gift – you can’t just “tap it out” and send it like a…a…quick text!

Consider this. Cheap video cameras, powerful editing software and YouTube gives everyone the power to create their own cinematic masterpiece. But have you seen a new Citizen Kane come out of YouTube yet? No. You see a lot of goofballs acting goofy. Cell phone novels give everyone the chance to share their writing with the world. But if you think it’s a matter of time before the next War and Peace arrives on your cell phone you’d better hunker down for a long wait.

[Rob Note: Since writing this column, I’ve written a novel on my cell phone (well, most of the first draft was written on an LG Envy-2, the re-writes and edits were done on a standard computer). Because I’m old school (read: old) I’m looking for a paper-and-glue publisher – if you know one that likes rock-n-roll horror, please let me know!]

reprinted courtesy of WAYNE TODAY, March 2009

American Culture Becomes Amateur Hour

My last column dealt with the Japanese literary phenomenon of cell phone novels [Rob Note – I’ll post this column next – it’s fascinating!]– novels written on cell phones and distributed directly to other cell phone users. While the cell phone novel is an interesting art form for a number of reasons, I’m concerned that it will open the floodgates, allowing a ton of amateur authors to glut the market with bad writing.

Yeah! Edit that bitch, yo!

This is a poor attitude, I know. Not everybody who wants to write needs to be a “trained professional” such as myself (a journalism degree and two decades working as a writer/editor – thank you, thank you very much). Everybody should be encouraged to put their thoughts and feelings into words, regardless of their skill level. Writing can be a powerful and therapeutic tool for personal growth and development. That’s all good.

It’s the sharing that I have problem with. It’s too easy to share stuff in this modern, techno-funky society, and people are too quick to do it. But this is only a symptom of a bigger problem in today’s world —  the abolishment of the tier system, the idea that you have to earn your way through certain levels of achievement before you can be considered “good” at something.

The 10,000 Hours

Since we’re talking about writing I’ll stick to that medium as an example. Back in the day, a writer would write something (on a typewriter or longhand) and show it to an editor or agent. If the editor/agent thought it was good they’d shop it around to a publisher. If the publisher liked it they’d print it and distribute it. And if the public liked it (and bought enough to make the publisher some money) then the writer would get a chance to publish another story.

The point is that a writer had to show their work to other people – people who knew the business of writing – and get their approval before their work saw print. In editorial terms it’s called, weeding through the “slush pile,” the stack of unsolicited manuscripts submitted by new writers. Only one of every ten manuscripts will be good enough to read to completion; only one in a hundred will be something worth publishing.

But now, thanks to blogs and self-publishing houses and cell phone novels, anybody can write anything and share it with everybody instantly. It’s all become one giant slush pile and it’s every man for himself (or herself) sifting out the good writing from bad.

Bad writing overwhelms us and, as a result, we start excepting sub-par compositions as the norm. Average becomes the new good and our standards slip to a point where…well, to a point where recycled “teen confessional” trash tapped out on a cell phone can become a bestseller (in Japan, at least). A novel that was a “decent read” 50 years ago would be hailed as a “literary achievement” by today’s diminished standards.

Great … good …  good enough 

The same goes for the music business. Once upon a time, musicians had to tour extensively and get a record label to back them in order to get their music out to people. Now you can record a professional sounding album in your living room with a laptop and distribute it directly through the Internet using the same web services that big acts like U2 and Madonna use. The playing field has been leveled for artists everywhere.

While this freedom to easily distribute your work is liberating as an artist, it’s also resulting it a lot of really lousy product flooding the marketplace. Would Pablo Picasso be as passionate about his art if he knew his work would sit on the same shelf alongside every other knucklehead who ever picked up a paintbrush? Would the genius of his work even be recognized there among the mediocre masses?

This erosion of quality goes across the board in arts and entertainment but it doesn’t stop there. Standards have dropped in manufacturing and service industries, too. Are customer service people (receptionists, repair staff, sales clerks) nicer than they used to be? Are the products you buy built better and more durable? No and no.

So, in today amateur hour world, who is going to elevate the good stuff and toss out the bad? Ultimately, the decision lies in your hands. Hopefully you’ll decide you still want a skilled professional to help you wade through the slush pile of product. You’ll seek out the opinion of critical journalists. You’ll demand better writing and support the work of talented wordsmiths.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope you won’t see my last two columns for what they really are – a thinly veiled plea to keep my job.

-30-

Originally published in Wayne TODAY, March 2009.

[Update August 2013 : I bought myself a little time, but not enough. I was laid off, along with half -a-dozen other magazine employees, back in November 2012. Now I’m a self-pubber, blogger, and certified asshole.]

Rob Errera – Blogger

Hey, blogosphere! This is my first post, so be gentle! blogger

The first thing you should know is I’M NOT A BLOGGER. I’m a syndicated newspaper columnist with over twenty years of writing, reporting and editing experience. Ink flows and trees fall so that my work may live! I’m not bragging, but I’d like to think the writing you’ll find here is a cut above standard blogs. I edit my work, and it has to meet the approval of other professional editors. I’ll try my best not to give you a sloppy blog.

I’ve had the privilege of writing for the WAYNE TODAY Newspaper, part of the North Jersey Media Group, for many years. They let me write about almost anything (within PG-13 guidelines) so you’ll find topics on this blog ranging from local Jersey stuff to international affairs to personal reflections. There are lots of re-occurring themes: corruption in big business and government, tech advancements, social trends, and the business of writing. I write about autism often, since my son in on the spectrum.

I’ll kick-off my true WordPress debut with my next post, another anti-blogging rant. It is reprinted courtesy of the WAYNE TODAY as many of my future posts will be. I’ll try and note when the columns were originally published if you want to scroll through microfiche at the Wayne Public Library and check up on me. I’m a real writer. Honest!