Just Who IS This Guy?

[Last updated: 10.09.18]

My primary motivation for creating and maintaining this site is to burden my grandchildren with leave a legacy for my grandchildren (the Stickies), and my daughter and son-in-law. Unfortunately for them, If I were to drop dead while writing this, as things stand at the moment, I wouldn't be leaving enough cash (or possessions) on the table to take the edge off of their no doubt overwhelming grief and sense of loss. Sorry guys. Oh well, at least you won't need lawyers.

Another reason I'm doing this is to demonstrate to any and all potential publishers/literary agents/syndicators/etceterizers that since I have the ability and discipline to crank out a weekly column perhaps I'd finish my great not too shabby American novel if someone were to show some financial faith in me. Who knows? Perhaps I'll somehow go viral when I'm least expecting it.    

Finally, it's a hobby. I'm a dilettante multipotentialite with many interests and semi-humble opinions and it turns out I enjoy writing. I've tried to become a disciplined writer at various times in my life, but it never worked out. The available medium had a lot to do with it. It's just too much work, for me at least, to write by employing the traditional dead trees methodology. I'm a bit of a crank and an unrepentant smarty-pants, but I'm not a Luddite.

“At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.” 
― Kenneth Clark, "Civilization"

[OK, Poppa, now it's time for like, some of that build a community shtuff.]

That's Iggy, my imaginary grandkid/great-grandkid. He's the onsite representative for the Stickies.

I spend an inordinate amount of time online due to the fact that the Internet is ideal for a dilettante multipotentialite and current events junkie. Just so you know, my addiction does not include celebrity news and/or sports. I don't peer down my nose at the many people that find one or both of those subjects fascinating, I don't peer down my nose at anyone (well, mostly...).

But I am an equal opportunity offender, I enjoy poking (relatively gentle, usually) fun at everyone including me. I am somewhat crankish; I am an unrepentant smarty-pants.

But I've also self-diagnosed myself and come to the conclusion that I'm a well-adjusted (well, mostly...) introvert. So, once you help me to become a successful writer, and entrepreneur (step 2), you won't have to worry about dealing with yet another talking head turning up here, there, and everywhere; wild-eyed and addicted to endless self-promotion.

I stumbled on a great line in a Wikipedia entry titled Asociality. "Some popular writers have characterized introverts as people whose energy expands through reflection and dwindles during interaction." Exactly.

[Aside: The Wikipedia entry credits the source of this wisdom, a book by Laurie A. Helgoe entitled, "Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength." Googling the sentence from the Wikipedia Entry quoted above generates numerous hits. Interestingly, no shortage of writers, of all stripes, have felt free to use the exact same sentence without bothering to mention either the Wikipedia entry or Ms. Helgoe's book. 

While a quick check revealed that Wikipedia, unsurprisingly, doesn't give a damn about who uses any of the uncopyrighted material (and how) that can be found in Wikipedia, I think that doing so without revealing the source sucks sweaty socks.]

See!, I told you I was a crank. But I think that giving credit where credit is due is important. It might also serve to slightly reduce the velocity of the firehose of data and information available via the internet. If you're just recycling other people's content you should admit it. Oh, and I don't steal music or video files, and I wouldn't even if actually knew how (hey, I do have access to grandkids). And I would never...

[Hey! let's move it along you pompous old fart.]

Oh, sorry Marie-Louise, you're right, as usual. Marie-Louise is my sublime, drop-dead gorgeous muse. She peers over my right shoulder and scratches my back if she approves of what I'm writing; I never tire of her French accent.

I have a decent pair of speakers and a subwoofer attached to my computer and I listen to music or watch TV online, but I don't watch much mainstream TV. I'm more likely to be found watching Netflix, YouTube and the like. My eclectic tastes dictate that when I'm in the mood for fiction I might be caught watching anything from mainstream network drek to (allegedly) cutting-edge made for cable. I'm a world class time-shifter who rarely sits through a commercial. I thought this made me one of the cool kids, but I've apparently devolved into a typical hooplehead.

I read somewhere recently that the cool kids use their smartphones as their primary (often only) device for internet access and to listen to music. I don't own a smartphone as of yet, but I'm sure it's inevitable. (Update: 12.17.17, I now own a smartphone and I plan to eventually/cautiously learn how to use it to do things besides make phone calls.) And as much as I enjoy trying to talk to, or even better yet work with, people with surgically attached earbuds, and/or Facebook addicts commenting on the comments about their comment, I humbly and gracefully accept that I'm not one of the cool kids after all.

Now that I've accumulated a good bit of content without somehow going viral I've faced the book and can be accessed via a limited presence in the social media world. The Flyoverland Crank can be found on both Facebook and Google+ -- to shamelessly promote my writing. I publish a new column every Saturday night and I post a new column announcement every Sunday morning.

I occasionally post content from the web that I find at least vaguely related to my crankish outlook on Facebook. I post a lot of stuff from the Wall Street Journal there as they have a very effective paywall and social media is the only way to share their content.

I peruse myriad sources of info, but for the record, I think The WSJ is America's (and the world's) paper of record. Truly objective, and real, journalism combined with an amazing op-ed department whose motto is, "Free people, free markets."  Also, they hate crony capitalism as much as I do and have the resources to enthusiastically expose it.

I'd rather you didn't send me a picture of that awesome quiche you had for breakfast. Real men not only don't eat quiche, they are even less likely to send you a (insert name of this week's cool, new social media app here) of themselves eating quiche. Also...

[My imaginary gentlereader, Dana, interrupts. And you feel compelled to share all of this fascinating bonkercockie because?]

Well, the thing is, I feel (slightly) guilty because I want readers and patrons and conventional wisdom dictates that I'm s'posed to "establish a community" and um, commune I guess, with my readers if I'm to be successful. I'm supposed to tweet/turn up on Youtube/podcast/go live on Facebook to answer questions from my Patrons/ad infinitum, ad nauseam, etcetrium.


I prefer to devote my limited time and energies to my writing and the various and sundry overlapping meatspace communities that I'm a part of. I don't want to worsen anyone's Dizzinformation Anxiety Syndrome. I do want to write an old-fashioned weekly column that will, hopefully, make you smile.

On the other hand, if you become a patron, (for as little as a buck a month, 25¢ a week, I mean, C'mon!) you'll have access to a private comment forum that I might even post in from time to time.

My columns/letters/whatever this is, are my comments. My version of the frequently used, frequently annoying cliche -- it is what it is, is: They are what they are; make of them what you will, feel free to argue among yourselves.

I've lost my taste for argument and/or debate. I prefer quietly considering various viewpoints and quietly deciding where I stand. The current, apparently highly popular practice of talking heads yelling at each other on TV, or everyone yelling at everyone else via the internet (squawk! tweet, tweet) is not enlightened discussion, it's common denominator infotainment. This website strives to create a hybrid, Enlightened Infotainment.

One last thing. As I was about to say before (deservedly) being interrupted by my imaginary gentlereader, who peers over my left shoulder while I'm writing, you will find a limited amount of links in my weekly letter. We all complain (especially me) about drowning in data. In my semi-humble opinion the ability to link here, there, and everywhere on the information superhighway often results in getting lost in traffic.

The fact that multitasking has been scientifically proven to be a bogus strategery (this would be a good place for a link) dovetails nicely with my belief that striving to live life within a personally mandated speed limit is an essential element of the Pursuit of Contentment, the title, and subject, of my very first column. For the record, that column was published on 7.23.15 but is now dated 8.20.16 due to technical incompetence on my part.

One last, last thing. As to my grammar/spelling/punctuation/usage/etceterage, if you're a purist or language snob of some sort I apologize in advance, but not particularly sincerely, for my tendency to um, color outside the lines. I use a spelling/grammar checker that constantly beats up on me for my sins. Being about as far from being a spelling/grammar master as it's possible to be and still be considered relatively literate doesn't discourage me from following my own contextually shifting rules, not that standing up to some free software requires much in the way of manly courage.

Have an OK day.

P.S. Cranky don't tweet, he does have a Facebook page that he posts to regularly. As I mentioned, He uses it to announce new columns and share interesting shtuff related to subjects his column tends to obsess on. He likes to be liked and/or followed, but not stalked. He finds people that refer to themselves in the third person annoying so it's time to go.

©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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