Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BOS, Baseball, Electronic Media and Kindle

I recently had the opportunity to serve on a town commission. I had every intention of doing so and had done diligent research based on my own checklist of strengths and weakness as applied to the position. My initial time invested over a period of a few days was substantial, but it is what the position and the town most deservedly is entitled. I have been on many boards over the years and have resented those who contribute about as much as a bag of rocks.
I greatly appreciate the fact the town manager sought me out and had the confidence I would be a valuable addition. And, of course, meeting with the BOS and their extended kindness is also much appreciated. Then, I turned down a position I had tentatively accepted. Why? Simply put - baseball.
If you examine the sidebar of this worthless blog you will note an extensive list of baseball links. I have used most of them at one time or another, they are just a fraction of what is available. In Middleboro the term “Good old boy network” is bandied about. That exists in baseball sites just as it does in about every other field. You make connections. You establish friendships. In some instances others seek out and respect your opinions. In my case it was the opportunity to be a content editor, style editor or, in reality, just a nexus for distribution of real time information, with a smattering of help desk mentality tossed into the blender labeled “Job Description.” The real driver is simply “Fantasy baseball,” of which I have never participated. Those that do are serious, or can be serious, “seamheads.” The compensation is negligible and the hours are minimal. You are certainly not alone and, as I have now found out, capable of flexibility trade-offs.
I have a running partner who works, on occasion, from home. One sister spends about half her working hours in front of a screen. When I escaped the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector) the rumblings of a mobile office was just surfacing. With information distribution it is simple not necessary to hop into a vehicle and go on an expressway to get you in the 150/90 range for blood pressure.
With me it is time. I love retirement. The freedom of the choice of the day being DD or Honey Dew is exhilarating. I have a box set up, my own compartmentalize zone that says twenty hours per week for my commitments. I even excused myself from the board of the Middleborough Historical Association over the fact that something would have to go. I am a volunteer advocate for parents needing one to go to battle, and a battle it is, with school systems. I limit that significantly. The infringement of that self-proclaimed twenty hours would be, once again, significant. That’s something that would have to go would not be the baseball hours. That was the deal breaker tossed into my decision making process once again. Couple that with other volunteer work and I would be faced with a “Hey, I’m retired!” situation
I currently write for a baseball site. I do it for the enjoyment as do all of us at that and many other sites. There is no compensation unless you decide to be an editor, which I have adamantly refused to do. That would, in my opinion, commit me to writing about things I simply do not care to write about. I am not willing to toss away my independence. I may get less “reads” and “hits.” but I’m not in it for the numbers.
The Boston Globe at one time had an online baseball chat site that I helped monitor. I established friendships from that long closed site. One such connection will be here to attend the Boston and Cincinnati Red series with me. On Comcast I also was responsible for content on their baseball posting board. Translated, that means if someone does something stupid you edit or delete it. In the three years I did that I never had to lock out a poster. The political site would do that daily. I have also been editing on Wikipedia for years. Whenever I see incorrect information on baseball I edit. Anyone can do it. Hundreds of thousands participate from all walks of life. Go to Wiki and the information for participation is readily available.
I also started or better stated, participated in the start-up of several baseball, meaning Red Sox, web sites. Two still exist and I occasionally post, but the traffic is quite light. On each site advertising has been refused. Then there was the anti-casino site, which I monitored. Creating a site is relatively simple and creating the frameworks for this blog actually took about fifteen minutes. Trust me, there is no heavy lifting.
The rapid advancement in electronic media is startling. Just the proliferation of those sites on my sidebar. This is actually big business. Fantasy sports are incredible in scope. In many fantasy league draft day is a holiday from work. It is for one of my sons and a brother-in-law. They still spend hours going over information on football and baseball. The secret is traffic. I have posted articles, not this blog, of course, with twenty comments that had five-hundred page reads and articles with no comments that had thousands of reads. The reads generate the income. That’s why Facebook stock went up the other day. Ad revenues. Some of those sidebar sites started out in someone’s basement with one computer and now have staff in the hundreds, including many that are now professionals receiving a significant compensation package. Nothing new with that - the American dream fulfilled.
When I was a youngster we had exactly one TV channel in 1950. That was it. Today there appears to be thousands. Just examine your cable directory. There are channels covering just about any area of interest. Local cable shows are everywhere. We even have a local one on wrestling.
Anyone can do a podcast. I won’t go into the details, but I have appeared on them. You have a computer or a telephone and now you are a radio star. For baseball they are all over the place. Most are just simple affairs that are recorded and released. Some are more complicated. I have been on some that do live streaming of chat during a contest. Same as a real time posting board. Others are edited and released at specific times. Then you have YouTube. Record it and post it.
I could list some of my favorite baseball writers. Did you know Zane Grey wrote extensively on baseball? So I will leave the name list with Mr. Grey. What I have read electronically is amateur works that are every bit, in my opinion, as some of the most skilled sports writers today. Sites such as the one I write for are gateways for those wishing experience and getting a nice line on a resume. We actually have an editor who is in high school. This brings me to my Kindle.
I love science fiction. Amazon is quite an outlet, among others, for those who do not get their work published via mainstream houses. I have found SF works that are as entertaining and some writers with a Nebula or a Hugo Award attached to their credentials. The online publication offers an incredible outlet for some talented people who would otherwise be unknown. Several I follow diligently awaiting their next publication. Some have flowed into the mainstream thanks to their exposure via electronics.
What electronic media has managed is accessible for everyone. The frustrated writer, poet, movie producer, actor and just about anyone else has an outlet. Create it and post it. Just look at how things go viral on the internet. And this is just the beginning.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

There are idiots everywhere, and sometimes we elect them

Enterprise article sites fast rising real estate taxes. A major contributor? Debt exclusion.
Two hundred sixty one ballots cast. Yes, I was one.
The Brewster contract has been issued for another three years. Despite the machinations of some that has worked out rather well.
The G & E had the greatest number of town employees on the highest paid list. A week later an article in the paper mentions G & E rates will increase.
Massport is proposing a raise in parking fees of $2-$3 depending upon lot used. They raised the fees in 2012 for the same amount and with the same reasoning. The added “expenses” and to - and they are serious - To encourage people to use alternative transportation.
And, this just in! Guess what? Massport payroll has hit 100M - well above budget. Not me. I can’t connect the dots between rising fees and rising payroll.
Massachusetts has been handing out jobs to those that have been guests of the Commonwealth. I have no problem with giving a hand-up (or out) to someone who has paid their debt to society, but to place an embezzler into a position of handling money? Then again, maybe they will be more responsible than or elected representatives?
Mark Pacheco (D- Probation) now is on the bully pulpit for a 50M statewide tree planting project. The last gem Pacheco planted on the unwary was the famed Pacheco Law. No doubt this project, questionable at best, will have a similar outcome on our personal bottom line.
A proposed 1.1B casino at Suffolk Downs had run into some permitting issues. Seems the brainiacs at the Massachusetts Historic Commission have decided that thirty former horse barns are now “historic.” Famed sports entrepreneur, Bill Veeck, once wrote a book “Thirty Tons A Day” describing his experience of operating Suffolk Downs. I know where that thirty tons should be dumped. So now the project may be delayed and further delayed over what can be easily corrected by a CAT D3C XL.
What the Hysterical Commission failed to even remotely comprehend is that they are dealing with some interesting folks from Eastie who look forward to this project. You may remember some of those orange shirts a few years back at a TM. I know as I fully remember a load of trash being dumped near my anti casino sign.
If the Commission really wishes to run interference for horse barns there is a viable option. A few days a week I go right by the Middleborough-Brockton Agricultural Fair grounds in Brockton. Plenty of barns still remain.
Taunton State Hospital has some magnificent buildings that date back to 1854. They are a wreck. Some have burned and most are in desperate need of repair. Where is the Massachusetts Historic Commission on that situation? Oh…right….I forgot. There are two standards in this state: One standard applies to state owned property and the rest to everyone else.
The Middleboro ZBA got it right when they mentioned parking and fuel depot for the new cop shop. But, to me, the most significant comment was the building should be a museum and I agree. The MHA should have had that building years ago.